Beyond Learning Analytics

Data is now seen in many sectors as a platform for the provision of operational services. For example, only recently Admiral announced that they would price car insurance based on Facebook post data. Within UK Higher Education sector through learning analytics – the application of data analytics to student data – is beginning to have an impact and is attracting widespread interest across the HE sector. What next for HE and data technologies? Earlier this week KMi co-chaired with Jisc a workshop containing many of the research leaders and practitioners in HE interested in this question.

Following from a basic principle of Open Data that linking datasets together increases value the main focus for the event was how higher and further education institutions can collaborate with data. The day began with an overview of the issues, challenges and opportunities of a collaboratively formed ‘Education Dataspace’ from John Domingue followed by Phil Richards, Jisc’s Chief Innovation Officer, outlining work on a shared data and analytics architecture. This was followed by a number of short presentations from attendees on a variety of data and HE topics. Mark Stubbs, from Manchester Metropolitan University, revealed how his university has radically transformed their student data infrastructure by connecting disparate databases through a common naming scheme and data quality and data cleaning processes.

After lunch three groups focused on: current and future datasets in use; the technical infrastructure required to support data sharing including shared vocabularies and standards; and cultural inhibitors. The day finished with a number of agreed actions all related to enhancing the sharing of HE data across the sector.

There was consensus that this workshop represents the beginning of a journey and regular follow-on events are being planned. The event was co-Chaired by John Domingue with presentations from Zdenek Zdrahal and Mathieu d’Aquin.

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Workshop audience