Kyle Jones and I (Michael Perry) were pleased to present “In Their Own Words: Student Perspectives on Privacy and Library Participation in Learning Analytics Initiatives,” the first emerging findings from phase one of the Data Doubles research at the 2019 Association of College and Research Libraries Conference. The paper, which can be found in the conference proceedings here, outlined the first results from the 112 undergraduate student interviews conducted as part of this project. Slides from the presentation can be found in the conference schedule. (You can also find this work and others on our publications and presentations pages.) We appreciated the strong interest in our work from the audience, which we estimated at 100 attendees. There was also an excellent backchannel conversation on Twitter about learning analytics and libraries.
The session provided an overview of learning analytics and library participation, with a special focus on how academic librarians might begin thinking about students perceptions of learning analytics efforts work and how it fits into their overall sense of privacy. One of the interesting initial findings was the role trust in the library played in how students thought about their privacy and how it differed from social media companies.
“And, I feel like since there’s kind of like a trust in libraries, like libraries should kind of like return that like gesture in a way. Like, I trust the institution of a library. I don’t trust Facebook. So, it’s like when you’re on Facebook, you know it’s kind of like the Wild West…. Yeah, so I feel like the types of data that like a university would collect is different, the purpose of it is completely different. The implicit kind of feeling that people have towards libraries, the library should not betray that trust.”
We are more fully exploring this finding in the data right now.
The questions that followed the presentation highlighted many of the different ways librarians are starting to think about the issues of privacy as learning analytics initiatives grow on campus. It was refreshing to hear others thinking about these issues but more importantly the ways they are engaging campus in these discussions.
We hope people find the paper informative as we begin the larger analysis of the data. Look forward to more, specifically from our colleague Abigail Goben, at the ALA conference. And as always, feel free to keep in touch with us on Twitter.