It was brought to my attention by one of my co-workers the importance of student data. She sent the Tech Bar employees a link to an article on DigCiz.org that asks the question: “what do we owe students when we collect their data?” As I am currently a student whose information is being used to inform others in many different ways, I began to wonder what information of mine is being used and who is observing it.
Below, I have answered some questions that are asked within this conversation. The answers are solely my opinion as I did not do research to answer these questions.
DATA HAS VALUE; WHAT DO WE OWE STUDENTS WHEN WE COLLECT THEIR DATA?
In collecting students’ data, it is important to make the student aware that their data is being used. Students should have the right to know and understand where their data is going and what it is being used for. In doing so, students might be more encouraged to look into and become involved with different studies where their information can make a difference. On the other hand though, students should also have the option to decline their data being used. In any case, the student should be aware of what data of theirs is being collected and what it is being used for.
DOES THE WIDESPREAD AND ROUTINE COLLECTION OF STUDENT DATA IN EVER NEW AND POTENTIALLY MORE-INVASIVE FORMS RISK NORMALIZING AND NUMBING STUDENTS TO THE POTENTIAL PRIVACY AND SECURITY RISKS?
I do believe that students would become numb to their information being taken from them, especially if these forms are becoming more invasive because students would then would become numb to other data being taken such as credit fraud or other personal information. I believe if educators are looking to use students’ information, the student should be made aware so that they are able to trust the source and the outcome. Being aware of this would also cause them to be more aware of suspicious activity when their data is being tampered with.
WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS EDUCATORS TO INCREASE STUDENTS’ AGENCY AROUND THEIR OWN DATA, SO THAT THEY CAN BETTER UNDERSTAND WHAT THESE DATA COULD TELL SOMEONE ABOUT THEM, WAYS THESE DATA COULD BE USED TO BENEFIT THEM OR HARM THEM, AND WHAT THEY ARE GIVING AWAY WHEN THEY CONSENT TO DATA COLLECTION.
Students should be aware of why taking and using their data is important because it does help to inform others about a potential college or institution, lifestyle factors, etc. I think that it is an educators responsibility to send out these consent forms whenever their data is being collected. These forms should also include where their information is going and what it is being used for.
HOW CAN OUR POLICY AND DECISION MAKING FRAMEWORKS KEEP UP WITH THE EVER-INCREASING OPPORTUNITY TO COLLECT AND ANALYZE STUDENT DATA?
The policy and decision making frameworks should keep up with the opportunities to collect and analyze student data by making sure that these policies are up to date with the new ways data is being collected. In creating these policies, every way that information is being collected from students needs to be indicated. Students should be able to look towards these frameworks and be able to know and understand where this information is going and who will be using it.