Reconsidering Data in Learning Analytics: Opportunities for Critical Research

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APA Citation

Jones, K. M. L., & McCoy, C. (2018). Reconsidering data in learning analytics: Opportunities for critical research. Learning, Media and Technology. doi: 10.1080/17439884.2018.1556216


In this article, we argue that the contributions of documentation studies can provide a useful framework for analyzing the datafication of students due to emerging learning analytics (LA) practices. Specifically, the concepts of individuals being ‘made into’ data and how that data is ‘considered as’ can help to frame vital questions concerning the use of student data in LA. More specifically, approaches informed by documentation studies will enable researchers to address the sociotechnical processes underlying how students are constructed into data, and ways data about students are considered and understood. We draw on these concepts to identify and describe three areas for future research in LA. With the description of each area, we provide a brief analysis of current practices in American higher education, highlighting how documentation studies enables deeper analytical digging.

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