We’re pleased to announce that the first paper from this project’s research has been accepted for the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-54).
The paper, which is entitled “Do they even care? Measuring instructor value of student privacy in the context of learning analytics,” marks an empirical baseline regarding instructors and their perceptions of student privacy as a value worth protecting.
The paper is available as a preprint in our OSF research repository.
The abstract follows:
Learning analytics tools are becoming commonplace in educational technologies, but extant student privacy issues remain largely unresolved. It is unknown whether or not faculty care about student privacy and see privacy as valuable for learning. The research herein addresses findings from a survey of over 500 full-time higher education instructors. The findings detail faculty perspectives of their own privacy, students’ privacy, and the high degree to which they value both. Data indicate that faculty believe that privacy is important to intellectual behaviors and learning. This work reports initial findings of a multi-phase, grant-funded research project that will further uncover instructor views of learning analytics and its student privacy issues.
The literature on learning analytics and student privacy has to date only scratched the surface regarding instructor perceptions of 1) the technologies and 2) student privacy. Even less has asked whether or not instructors even care about or value students’ privacy.
Notable findings from the study include:
- Instructors define their own privacy and student privacy using an information access approach.
- Regarding their personal privacy, 96.2% of instructors stated that it was very important (63.3%, n = 318) or important (32.9%, n = 165) to them.
- We asked whether instructors valued their students’ privacy, 98.9% of instructors stated that student privacy was either very important (74.8%, n = 376) or important (24.1%, n = 121).
- Even if instructors believe that student privacy is important and see value in it as part of the learning process, it does not necessarily follow that they perceive that students care about their privacy, so we asked: 80.1% (n = 402) stated that they believed students care about their privacy.
Other findings detail sample demographics and to what degree those demographics influence views on student privacy. Other analysis details correlations between (and effect sizes of) how important respondents felt student privacy was and the importance of privacy for students’ ability to perform course related activities.
The paper only reports about a third of the survey’s results. Other survey questions detail instructional practices regarding student privacy, knowledge and behaviors related to learning analytics, and awareness of privacy policies. We look forward to exploring these data as time allows.