A Matter of Trust: Higher Education Institutions as Information Fiduciaries in an Age of Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics

Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, Forthcoming

24 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2019

See all articles by Kyle M. L. Jones

Kyle M. L. Jones

Indiana University-Indianapolis (IUPUI)

Alan Rubel

University of Wisconsin, Madison - Information School; University of Wisconsin, Madison - Program in Legal Studies

Ellen LeClere

iSchool

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

Higher education institutions are mining and analyzing student data to effect educational, political, and managerial outcomes. Done under the banner of “learning analytics,” this work can—and often does—surface sensitive data and information about, inter alia, a student’s demographics, academic performance, offline and online movements, physical fitness, mental wellbeing, and social network. With these data, institutions and third parties are able to describe student life, predict future behaviors, and intervene to address academic or other barriers to student success (however defined). Learning analytics, consequently, raise serious issues concerning student privacy, autonomy, and the appropriate flow of student data. We argue that issues around privacy lead to valid questions about the degree to which students should trust their institution to use learning analytics data and other artifacts (algorithms, predictive scores) with their interests in mind. We argue that higher education institutions are paradigms of information fiduciaries. As such, colleges and universities have a special responsibility to their students. In this article, we use the information fiduciary concept to analyze cases when learning analytics violate an institution’s responsibility to its students.

Keywords: higher education, learning analytics, student privacy, trust, information fiduciary

Suggested Citation

Jones, Kyle and Rubel, Alan P. and LeClere, Ellen, A Matter of Trust: Higher Education Institutions as Information Fiduciaries in an Age of Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics (2020). Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3494694

Kyle Jones (Contact Author)

Indiana University-Indianapolis (IUPUI) ( email )

535 W. Michigan Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202-3103
United States

HOME PAGE: http://thecorkboard.org

Alan P. Rubel

University of Wisconsin, Madison - Information School ( email )

4217 HC WHite
600 N. Park St.
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

University of Wisconsin, Madison - Program in Legal Studies ( email )

4217 HC WHite
600 N. Park St.
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

Ellen LeClere

iSchool ( email )

Room 4217 Helen C White Hall
600 N Park Street
Madison, WI 53706
United States

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