There is growing concern about the extent to which individuals are tracked while online. Within higher education, understanding of issues surrounding student attitudes to privacy is influenced not only by the apparent ease with which members of the public seem to share the detail of their lives, but also by the traditionally paternalistic institutional culture of universities.
This paper explores issues around consent and opting in or out of data tracking. It considers how three providers of massive open online courses (Coursera, EdX and FutureLearn) inform users about data usage. It also discusses how higher education institutions can work toward an approach that engages students and informs them in more detail about the implications of learning analytics on their personal data.
The paper restates the need to
- develop a coherent approach to consent, taking into account the findings of research into how people make decisions about personal data
- recognise that people can only engage selectively in privacy self management
- adjust the timing of privacy law to take into account that data may be combined and reanalysed in the future
- develop more substantive privacy rules
This paper was nominated for the best paper award at the 2015 Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference.