Learning Analytics: Is data collection of students' learning habits Orwellian or simply helpful?

SI News,  Monday, August 8, 2016

In a bid to personalize the learning experience and reduce the rate of drop-outs, universities have embraced “learning analytics”, or the analysis of data collected from various student activities.

Common Sense releases platform to test privacy of apps

Darlene Aderoju, EdScoop,  Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Common Sense Education, which works with more than 100,000 schools around the country to ensure that all children have the technology to thrive, has collaborated with more than 70 schools and districts to create a K-12 Edtech Privacy Evaluation Platform.

Preparing for 'Era of Data Ubiquity'

Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed,  Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Imagine if a college, using learning analytics, has determined that students of a specific ethnic background who live in a handful of zip codes and score a certain way on standardized tests are highly likely to earn a low grade in an important course -- potentially jeopardizing their chances of graduating on time. Should the college actively prevent those students from enrolling in the course?

States Adopt New Student Privacy Safeguards

EPIC,  Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Several states have recently enacted new student privacy laws. Colorado and Connecticut’s laws impose strict requirements on those who collect student data. Connecticut also requires that parents are notified each time a school district enters into a contract that involves student data. North Carolina enacted a student privacy law modeled after California's Student Online Personal Information Protection Act. The National Association of State Boards of Education reported that 38 states considered student privacy legislation in 2016. Ten of those states passed student privacy laws. EPIC has urged the enactment of a comprehensive student privacy bill of rights. EPIC's State Policy Project is monitoring privacy bills nationwide.

Maryland universities to use data to predict student success — or failure

Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun,  Monday, June 13, 2016

Officials at the University System of Maryland have begun to analyze student data — grades, financial aid information, demographics, even how often they swipe their ID cards at the library or the dining hall — to find undergraduates who are at risk of dropping out. Law enforcement agencies, political campaigns, retailers and other universities all mine data to help focus their efforts. University system officials say the practice, called predictive analysis, will boost graduation rates by enabling educators to intervene with struggling students before failure becomes inevitable.

EPIC, Coalition Petitions Education Department for Data Security Rules for Student Records

Electronic Privacy Information Center,  Monday, June 6, 2016

EPIC, legal scholars, technical experts, and many leading privacy organizations have petitioned the Education Department to establish a data security rule to protect student records. The experts and groups explained that data breaches now plague schools and colleges across the country, following recent changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The petition calls for the establishment of rules for encryption, privacy enhancing techniques, and breach notification.

States Include Stricter Language in Student Data Privacy Legislation

Sri Ravipati, THE Journal,  Thursday, June 2, 2016

Student information is getting a regulatory makeover on a massive scale. Legislatures in 38 states considered 185 bills on student data privacy this year, many with stricter language protections for students, according to a policy update report from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). Amelia Vance, director of education data and technology for NASBE, wrote the “Trends in Student Data Privacy Bills in 2016” report that touches on improvements made to previous bills and notes specific states to watch.

Addressing Information Security and Privacy in Postsecondary Education Data Systems

Joanna Lyn Grama, Educause Review,  Wednesday, June 1, 2016

We need all these data, collected in a comprehensive and large-scale way, to address some of our most critical questions about how to ensure student success. Yet every conversation about how this data can be used to improve student outcomes must also acknowledge the necessity of maintaining the privacy of students and their families and properly securing any data sets containing personally identifiable data. With thoughtful planning, comprehensive information security and privacy practices can be implemented within the national postsecondary education data infrastructure in a way that reduces risk, safeguards data, and ensures transparency, accountability, and trust throughout the ecosystem.

Student data privacy: Moving from fear to responsible use

Brenda Leong, Brookings,  Tuesday, May 24, 2016

In the last two years, there has been a perfect storm on the topic of student data privacy. The role of technology within schools expanded at an unprecedented rate, general awareness of consumer data security and breaches increased, and student databases at the state or national level were established or proposed, which drew great public scrutiny and fear. This maelstrom yielded a tremendous output of legislative activity targeted at education technology companies, that was overwhelmingly focused on protecting and limiting the sharing and use of student data—in rare instances, to the point of forbidding research uses almost completely. There are signs that this wave of fear-driven response has finally crested, and that more measured conversations are occurring; conversations that prioritize the fundamental requirement for appropriate privacy and security, but with a clear focus on the invaluable role of research and analysis and the need to enable it.

Future of Privacy Forum and ConnectSafely Release Educator’s Guide to Student Data Privacy

Melanie Bates, Future of Privacy Forum,  Monday, May 23, 2016

Today, the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and ConnectSafely are releasing the Educator’s Guide to Student Data Privacy. Technology tools and applications are changing the way schools and teachers educate students across the country. New resources are making it easier for teachers and students to communicate in and outside of the classroom making learning a 24/7 activity. When schools use technology, a student’s personal information is often collected and shared for the purpose of furthering their education. The Educator’s Guide will help teachers utilize technology in the classroom responsibly and protect their students’ privacy, explaining among other things...