It’s a pleasure to announce that I was the winner of ALISE’s 2017 Research Grant competition. Per ALISE’s webpage, the award totals “$5,000 [and] may be made to support research broadly related to education for library and information science.” My grant application was entitled Algorithms in the library: An investigation into academic library participation in learning analytics and related intellectual freedom and privacy issues. In the application abstract I wrote:
Academic libraries are increasingly tracking students’ intellectual behaviors using learning analytics technologies. However, data mining user behaviors is morally questionable due to longstanding commitments to the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics. Specifically, learning analytics practices may negatively impact intellectual privacy and intellectual freedom, which can conflict with related protections detailed within the code. Researchers have generally addressed how learning analytics implicates student privacy, autonomy, and agency; and library professionals recognize that there are ethical problems with pursuing learning analytics in a library context. Yet, there is a critical need to understand what is motivating librarians to participate in learning analytics given the prima facie erosions of intellectual freedom and privacy. This grant application supports an interview-based, constructivist grounded theory study into the internal and external factors motivating academic librarians to participate in learning analytics, as well as the associated intellectual freedom and privacy issues emerging when they do so.
I look forward to starting my research here shortly, and I appreciate ALISE’s continued support of my work!