Student Bill of Rights for Learning Data

From UBC Wiki

Ambox warning yellow.png This article is still being drafted. This means that the article is still being worked on and information may be incomplete. This template will be removed when the article is finished. If you have any concerns, please start a discussion on the talk page.


"We need to consider, for example, what data looks like in communities' hands, in students’ hands, what information students would want to collect on themselves, for themselves, who they would want to share it with and why. And in doing so, we need to recognize the messiness of our learning — of our data — and not normalize that for the sake of analysis..." Audrey Watters, 2014

Previous iterations of learning management systems tracked and recorded every click or entry point made by a student when accessing their course materials online - what time they logged in, how long they were online, which videos they watched, etc. Since data collection and analysis methods were clunky - it was difficult for faculty to make use of the information and impossible for students to see what faculty were seeing about them. Most students seemed to have no idea that their movements were being recorded when they logged into their courses and were unaware of how this data could be used to form opinions about their learning. And certainly, students didn't have a choice about whether or not to allow this sort of data collection.

So what will a NGDLE look like? by @bryanMMathers is licenced under CC-BY-ND

With the new generation of digital learning environments (called NGDLE) the picture becomes even more complex - with the possibility of a variety of learning applications being pieced together to form new learning environments (think ecosystem) and each one of those components having the capacity to extract, track, share and analyze your data.

Our institutions intend to harness data on your learning behavior so they can derive insights from patterns they observe in terms of how students are responding in various learning environments. The theory goes that the more data we collect, the closer we will be to understanding how every student learns and we'll be able to personalize the optimize the learning experience. This is not unlike the promise of improved, personalized service offered by Google or Facebook in exchange (of course) for you sharing information about you with them.

But what is at risk when we open ourselves up to being tracked and analyzed in this way? Should we not also be able to see and benefit from the view of our own data traces? Should we not have the right to decide how we want our data to be used in our learning environments and who should have access to it? How can we be better informed and better prepared for these important conversations?

Why Should Student's Care?

  • Your data is the most valuable thing you own. You'll want to give it at least as much consideration as you would when thinking about whether or not to lend out your most prized possession.
  • Careful consideration about your data, what it means to share it, collect it and analyze it - can make you more aware if how you are sharing it elsewhere - perhaps with much greater risks to your privacy. For example, consider your use of the following familiar platforms and services in your day-to-day:
  • Google products:
  • Compass Cards:
  • Facebook:

Bill of Rights

This is a work in progress. We hope you will contribute (see below).

  • The right to benefit from the collection of personal learning data.
  • If data is being collected through learning management systems on individual students, then students should have the opportunity to learn how to use such data to inform their learning behavior. In addition, evidence (supported by research) as to the practical value of such efforts should be provided.
  • If student data is being collected and analyzed, then students should be able to view and edit those analytics.
  • The right to adequate notice
* If the terms of use include a clause like, "By logging into the Service you agree to these Terms of Use", then the terms of use should be present and viewable before the student logs into the system.
  • Students need to know what they are agreeing to before they sign onto the learning management system.
  • The right to adequate representation in decision making
  • Students need adequate background information about data collection; its processes, purposes and ethical challenges in order to fully and confidently participate in discussion and decision making related to university wide policies and processes in this regard.
* Before a new system with heightened data collection and analysis is implemented, a thorough review of the errors in past systems should be completed. Likewise, specific policy should be created / updated to reflect the system's new capabilities.
  • The right to be anonymous.
  • Personally identifiable information should not be used to assess student engagement due to the risk of discrimination based on access to the internet, hardware and data plans that make such engagement possible.
  • All data should be completely anonymized.
  • The right to be meaningfully informed: A terms-of-service must be written in clear, direct language and access to the terms of service needs to be made easily accessible. The terms of use / service should be made understandable and readily available. Students should be notified if these documents are updated.
  • Students should be informed about when their data is being collected.
  • Students should be informed about how that their data is being used.
  • Students should be informed about where their data is being stored.
  • Students should be informed about who has access to their data.
  • Students should be informed about why their data is being collected, analyzed, transported, and stored.
  • The right to choose.
  • Students should be presented with the option to opt-out.

Who are We?

We are a group of students and staff at the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto who work in partnership on building resources for the Digital Tattoo Project. The goal of the project is to raise questions, provide examples and links to resources to encourage you to think about your presence online, navigate the issues involved in forming and re-forming your digital identity and learn about your rights and responsibilities as a digital citizen. It’s really just all about making informed decisions and your own decisions.

A focus for our work this year has been on data - how it's collected, how it's used , how we manage and protect it.

This campaign is about student rights pertaining to learning data - or the data that is collected by the platforms a school uses in the process of facilitating learning. We invite you to join us and contribute your ideas (see below).

How Can You Get Involved?

  • If you are affiliated with UBC, login to the UBCWiki with your CWL and add to the discussion on this page (once you are logged in - you'll see a discussion tab on the top left of this wiki page).
  • If you are not affiliated with UBC (or if you want to contribute anonymously), add to our Padlet
  • Tweet your support linking to this bill of rights : DT@UBC #studentrights


Learning Data and Analytics

Sample Bill's of Rights

Some rights reserved
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document according to the terms in Creative Commons License, Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. The full text of this license may be found here: CC by-sa 4.0