Contextual Expectations and Emerging Informational Harms: A Primer on Academic Library Participation in Learning Analytics Initiatives
In P. Fernandez & K. Tilton (Eds.), Applying library values to emerging technology: Decision-making in the age of open access, maker spaces, and the ever-changing library. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries, Forthcoming
21 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2017 Last revised: 2 Mar 2018
Date Written: 2018
Academic libraries have begun to consider their role in learning analytics (LA). Some librarians have expressed great optimism about data-driven analytics and the insights such practices may develop with regard to the library’s role in improving learning outcomes or increasing graduation rates. On the face of it, information systems librarians maintain and the informational products (e.g., databases and digital libraries) to which they provide students access hold data that could reveal a unique view into students’ intellectual behaviors. Such data could provide value to LA algorithms and enhance related outcomes, and institutions may seek more involvement from their librarians in aggregating and mining student data. However, these initiatives are not without moral questions. In this chapter, we hold a critical conversation about the distribution of LA benefits, whose interests library LA serves, and how informational injustices accrue to students as library users.
Keywords: educational technologies, learning analytics, academic libraries, information ethics
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