- Campus Technology profiles the growing concern among students and data privacy advocates about the collection and use of mined data on college campuses. The University of California System is one example of institutions working to reverse negative perceptions about learning analytics by developing principles of information provision consent and soliciting student feedback on data usage.
- Some officials believe in student consent and awareness about how their data is used, but say that universities could face challenges in trying to offer students opt-out or customized collection methods. "It is not clear what counts as a student record under FERPA," University of Wisconsin professor Alan Rubel told Campus Technology. "Do individual data points count as records or not? That is a big issue. Creating opt-out procedures would be really onerous and likely impossible."
- Colleges in the European Union will implement new guidelines on student data later this month, under the General Data Protection Regulation which will dictate how institutions inform students and staff about what information is being harvested, and how it will be used.
With increasing pressure for social media platforms to be more transparent about their data collection and disbursement methods, colleges and universities are a natural step on the path for individuals being more mindful of how their data is being mined and used. But unlike websites and social media platforms, institutions actually use the data to determine how campus services are marketed, how academic interventions should be deployed, and how security methods can be improved.
College officials will have to answer to students, and potentially lawmakers, on whether this is an ethical use of data and if students choose to opt-out of this usage, how technology and personnel must be configured to address the requests. Survey data from two years ago indicated that students were willing to trade certain elements of privacy for better campus experiences, but recent headlines may play a big role in changing students' and faculty members' ideas about personal exposure through data gathering.