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The Ethics of Learning Analytics in Australian Higher Education. A Discussion Paper (The University of Melbourne | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on April 11, 2019
 

Overview

This project brought together learning analytics experts from across Australia to explore key ethical issues relating to the development and use of learning analytics in higher education. The result of these discussions was a discussion paper that provides an outline of seven ethical principles as well as practical considerations associated with the use of learning analytics.

Objective

The ever-increasing availability of data about student activities in educational environments presents many opportunities for the improvement of learning and teaching through the use of learning analytics. In applying analytics, there is an obligation that educators and institutions ensure that data and analysis techniques are used appropriately. The range of ethical considerations that educational institutions must face is complex, and many institutions are still formulating their approach to ensuring ethical practice in this field.

The objective of this project was to draw together contemporary research and current practice in the area of ethics and learning analytics, and use this to produce a discussion paper that provides guidance to a range of higher education stakeholders including students, educators, researchers, and senior leaders.

Corrin, L., Kennedy, G., French, S., Buckingham Shum S., Kitto, K., Pardo, A., West, D., Mirriahi, N., & Colvin, C. (2019). The Ethics of Learning Analytics in Australian Higher Education. A Discussion Paper. https://melbourne-cshe.unimelb.edu.au/research/research-projects/edutech/the-ethical-use-of-learning-analytics

Academic Behind Cambridge Analytica Data Mining Sues Facebook for Defamation – New York Times (Matthew Rosenberg | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 24, 2019
 

WASHINGTON — The academic who helped Cambridge Analytica vacuum up private information from tens of millions of Facebook profiles sued the social media giant on Friday, arguing that the company defamed him when it claimed he had lied about how the data was going to be used.

Since the full scope of Cambridge Analytica’s data mining was revealed last year, Facebook has repeatedly tried to shift blame for the privacy breach onto the academic, Aleksandr Kogan. Facebook executives — including the chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg — have said Mr. Kogan told Facebook that the data was for academic purposes when it was being collected for use in political campaigns.

Mr. Kogan, 32, a former psychology professor, used a quiz app to collect the data, and has insisted that the fine print accompanying his app said the information could be used commercially. That was an outright violation of Facebook’s rules at the time, but the company does not appear to have regularly checked that apps were complying.

Read the rest of this news story

Whitepaper: Practical challenges for researchers in data sharing (David Stuart, et al | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on March 4, 2019
 

Whitepaper, survey data and infographic on figshare.com

In one of the largest surveys of researchers about research data (with over 7,700 respondents), Springer Nature finds widespread data sharing associated with published works and a desire from researchers that their data are discoverable.

Foreword

We are in the midst of progress, and potentially exciting change, for open science and open access to research data. The world’s funders are increasingly mandating good data practice, including data management plans and data sharing, and recognising the need for global collaboration on infrastructure and best practice. Across the research community, momentum is gathering in policy, strategy and working groups to achieve a future where research data are widely Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR).

Open science should be about opening up all areas of research. Open access to research data can help speed the pace of discovery and deliver more value for funded research by enabling reuse and reducing duplication. The evidence is there that open data and good data management makes research studies more productive, more likely to be cited and unlocks innovation for the good of society including unexpected new discoveries and economic benefit…

Stuart, D., Grace Baynes, S., Hrynaszkiewicz, I., Allin, K., Penny, D., Lucraft, M & Astell, M. (2018) Whitepaper: Practical challenges for researchers in data sharing. Springer nature
Figshare: https://figshare.com/articles/Whitepaper_Practical_challenges_for_researchers_in_data_sharing/5975011/1
Publisher (Includes media release): https://www.springernature.com/gp/open-research/open-data/practical-challenges-white-paper

The Ethics Ecosystem: Personal Ethics, Network Governance and Regulating Actors Governing the Use of Social Media Research Data (Papers: Gabrielle Samuel, et al | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 4, 2019
 

Abstract

While this paper is most obviously relevant to countries without a national standard for non-health human research (ie it might seem more useful for New Zealand) than Australia, it does point to institutions having nuanced guidance about the use of Web 2.0 material.
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AHRECS can provide an in-meeting briefing for our HREC/REC that would be 15min pre-recorded presentation (ppt with embedded audio), a video/phone connection for questions and discussion, and a short briefing note, which includes a recommended reading list. The cost of this activity is AUD 900. Send an email to inmeeting@ahrecs.com to find out more.

This paper examines the consequences of a culture of “personal ethics” when using new methodologies, such as the use of social media (SM) sites as a source of data for research. Using SM research as an example, this paper explores the practices of a number of actors and researchers within the “Ethics Ecosystem” which as a network governs ethically responsible research behaviour. In the case of SM research, the ethical use of this data is currently in dispute, as even though it is seemingly publically available, concerns relating to privacy, vulnerability, potential harm and consent blur the lines of responsible ethical research behaviour. The findings point to the dominance of a personal, bottom-up, researcher-led, ‘ethical barometer’ for making decisions regarding the permissibility of using SM data. We show that the use of different barometers by different researchers can lead to wide disparities in ethical practice – disparities which are compounded by the lack of firm guidelines for responsible practice of SM research. This has widespread consequences on the development of shared norms and understandings at all levels, and by all actors within the Ethics Ecosystem, and risks inconsistencies in their approaches to ethical decision-making. This paper argues that this governance of ethical behaviour by individual researchers perpetuates a negative cycle of academic practice that is dependent on subjective judgements by researchers themselves, rather than governed by more formalised academic institutions such as the research ethics committee and funding council guidelines.
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Keywords
Evaluation Governance, Research ethics, Social media, Ethics Internet research
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Samuel, G., Derrick, G.E. & van Leeuwen, T. Minerva. (2019). “The Ethics Ecosystem: Personal Ethics, Network Governance and Regulating Actors Governing the Use of Social Media Research Data.” Minerva.
Publisher (Open Access): https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11024-019-09368-3

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