Using big data to improve higher education is raising issues around ethics & privacy

August 27, 2018 in

In the US, some colleges are beginning to use location data collected from students’ cellphones and laptops as they move around campus to determine students’ engagement with their coursework and campus activities, with the aim to improve student retention and the type of advice provided to students. Other colleges are exploiting it as a tool for making decisions on how to spend resources on new equipment and how to use their facilities.

Besides the benefits, this is also raising issues around ethics & privacy.

The main question asked by Goldie Blumenstyk, senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education, is: "Just because colleges and companies can collect this information and associate it with all sorts of other academic and demographic data they have on students, should they? How far should colleges and companies go with data tracking?"

Transparency on how the information is collected and used clearly becomes extremely important, as well as the possibility for students to opt-out from data tracking.

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