Legal, Risk and Ethical Aspects of Analytics in Education

After some initial feedback on the CETIS Analytics Series, we’ve had a wee re-think of our publication schedule and today we launch the “Legal, Risk and Ethcial Aspects of Analytics in Education” written by David Kay (Sero Consulting), Naomi Korn and Professor Charles Oppenheim.

As all researchers are only too well aware, any practice involving data collection and reuse has inherent ethical and legal implications of which institutions must be cognisant. Most institutions have guidelines and policies in place for the collection and use of research data in place. However, the gathering of usage data primarily from internal systems, is an area where it is less commonplace for institutions to have legal and ethical guidelines in place. As with a number of developments in technology, current laws have not developed at a similar pace.

The “Legal, Risk and Ethical Aspects of Analytics in Higher Education” paper provides a concise overview of legal and ethical concerns in relation to analytics in education. It outlines a number of legal actors which impinge on analytics for education, in particular:

* Data Protection
* Confidentiality & Consent
* Freedom of Information
* Intellectual Property Rights
* Licensing for Reuse.

The paper also recommends a set of common principles which have universal application.

*Clarity; open definition of purpose, scope and boundaries, even if that is broad and in some respects extent open-ended,

*Comfort & care; consideration for both the interests and the feelings of the data subject and vigilance regarding exceptional cases,

*Choice & consent; informed individual opportunity to opt-out or opt-in,

*Consequence & complaint; recognition that there may be unforeseen consequences and therefore provision of mechanisms for redress.

Being aware of the legal and ethical implications of any activity requiring data collection is fundamental before undertaking any form of data analysis activity, and we hope this paper will be of use in helping inform and develop practice. As ever, if you have any comments/ examples please use the comments section to share them with us.

The paper is available to download here.

The papers published so far in the series are:

*Analytics, What is Changing and Why does it Matter?
*Analytics for the Whole Institution; Balancing Strategy and Tactics
*Analytics for Learning and Teaching