This workshop is being organized by the following partners:


This half-day interactive workshop responds to an on-going need to thoughtfully and intentionally consider, and sometimes reconsider, the ethical implications of the rapidly advancing field of Learning Analytics (LA). The pioneering work of other scholars will provide the starting point for our conversations, including Drachsler & Greller’s (2016) DELICATE checklist Hoel and Chen’s (2018) EP4LA Toolkit, and Sclater’s (2014) Code of Practice. Case studies and possible dilemmas (Willis, Slade, & Prinsloo, 2016), along with previous institutional efforts (Colorado State University) will also frame our discussions. During the workshop, participants will develop strategies for creating a sustainable and inclusive community to advance principle-based LA practices on their campuses. By completing an Action Plan Worksheet, participants will consider the alignment of institutional goals with LA, the value of including key stakeholders in ethical discourse, and the development of a flexible framework for reviewing emerging LA practices and activities. They will also reflect upon how the development of local communities dedicated to ethical discourse can contribute to, and benefit from, joining a broader international Community of Transformation across higher education.

A process of developing LA principles and subsequent policy, particularly around inclusion and success, is of primary relevance to attendees and the LAK research community. Previous efforts have attempted to provide guidance in the form of checklists (Drachsler & Greller, 2016) and a proposed toolkit called the Ethics and Privacy for LA, EP4LA Toolkit (Hoel & Chen, 2018). Nonetheless, it remains challenging to find well-articulated processes that administrators, faculty and staff can follow to develop LA principles, which need to be clearly articulated prior to establishing policies.

In this workshop, participants will discover ways to engage administrators and faculty in an outcome-driven dialog concerning the ethical dimensions of current and future uses of LA. We also propose that local communities connected to a larger network of schools will provide a basis for ongoing cross-institutional conversations about LA ethics, expand our knowledge of the topic, and provide new opportunities for policy development in a field that is continually evolving.

This ½ day workshop participants will create a plan for engaging their administrators, faculty and other stakeholders in a conversation about the ethics of learning analytics. Participants will first explore the challenges and successes of similar efforts before developing an action plan for ethical discourse on their campuses. They will also be provided the opportunity to join a Community of Transformation (CoT) dedicated to advancing principle-based LA policy through collaboration and sharing, which is the ultimate goal of this workshop.

  • Workshop Activities

The purpose of the workshop is to engage scholars and practitioners in ethical dialog, including the procurement, provisioning and use of student data for LA activities. Attendees will be contacted prior to the workshop and asked to complete a short reading. We will also suggest that they bring any documentation from their campus related to LA ethical principles and/or codes of practice. Through a series of individual activities and small group discussions, participants will be encouraged to complete an Action-Plan Worksheet provided to them during the session. The worksheet will help set the stage for future ethical discourse once they return home, taking into consideration their own institutional culture and context. Participants will also be provided the opportunity to connect to a broader community that will enrich and support future iterations of this work.

  • Workshop Outcomes

Participants will: 1) identify existing relevant ethical principles, LA principles, and LA codes of practice, 2) discuss current methods for implementing LA principles and codes of practice, 3) contribute their voices to the ongoing development and advancement of LA principles and subsequent policy, 4) use the ROMA model to create a plan for an engagement strategy for their campus.

  • Dissemination of Outcomes

The workshop will be promoted using the #LAK19 on various social media channels and will be announced and disseminated among the members of CSU’s and IUB’s Center for Learning Analytics and Student Success (CLASS) LA-listserv. The outcomes from the workshop activities will be collected and disseminated using social media (#LAK19), email lists for participants, distributed to IU’s and CSU’s LA Centers and distributed to the COT that is being developed around these issues.

A worksheet to be completed by participants will be provided at the time of the workshop.

Suggested readings:

  • Drachsler, H. & Greller, W. (2016). Privacy and Analytics – it’s a DELICATE Issue: A Checklist for Trusted Learning Analytics. Sixth International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge (LAK ’16). Edinburgh, 2016.Sclater, N. (2016).
  • Developing a Code of Practice for Learning Analytics. Journal of Learning Analytics. 3(1), 16-42.

Please be prepared to answer these questions when you attend the workshop:

  • How helpful is this article in helping your institution take an ethical approach to the use of LA?
  • How would you envision using it?
  • What are some of the shortcomings of this reading for helping you tackle the ethical use of LA at your institution?

James E. Folkestad
Director | University Distinguished Teaching Scholar
Center for the Analtyics of Learning and Teaching
Colorado State Universtiy, USA

George Rehrey
Center for Learning Analytics and Student Success
Indiana University Bloomington, USA

Dennis Groth
Vice Provost
Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
Indiana University Bloomington, USA

Linda Shepard
Senior Assistant Vice Provost & Director
Bloomington Assessment and Research
Indiana University Bloomington, USA

Matthew Hickey
Chair | University Distinguished Teaching Scholar
Committee on Teaching and Learning (CoTL)
Colorado State Universtiy, USA

Center for the Analytics of Learning and Teaching. (2017). Ethical Principles of Learning Analytics. Colorado State University, 2017. Retrieved from //

Charles Sturt University. (2015). CSU Learning Analytics: Code of Practice. Retrieved from  CodePractice.pdf

Drachsler, H., Cooper, A., Hoel, T., Ferguson, R., Berg, A., Scheffel, M., Kismihok, G., Manderveld, J., & Chen, W. (2015). Ethical and privacy issues in the application of learning analytics. LAK ’15: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, 390-391.

Drachsler, H. & Greller, W. (2016). Privacy and Analytics – it’s a DELICATE Issue: A Checklist for Trusted Learning Analytics. Sixth International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge (LAK ’16). Edinburgh, 2016.

Hoel, T. & Chen, W. (2018). Advancing the Delicate Issue of Ethics and Privacy for Learning Analytics.

Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference 2018. Sydney, 2018. Retrieved from

JISC. (2015). “Code of Practice for Learning Analytics.” Retrieved from

Kezar, A. (2016). How Colleges Change: Understanding, Leading and Enacting Change. New York and London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Kezar, A. & Gehrke, S. (2015). Communities of transformation and their work scaling STEM reform. Pullias Center for Higher Education: Ross School of Education University of Southern California: 1-86.

Macfayden, L., Dawson, S., Pardo, A., & Gasevic, D. (2014). Embracing Big Data in Complex Educational Systems: The Learning Analytics Imperative and the Policy Change. Research and Practice in Assessment, 9: 17-28.

Macfadyen, L., Groth, D., Rehrey, G., Shepard, L., Greer, J., Ward, D., Bennett, C., Kaupp, J., Molinaro, M., & Steinwachs, M. (2017). Developing institutional learning analytics “communities of transformation” to support student success. In Proceedings of the Seventh International Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference, 498–499.

National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. (1978). “The Belmont report: Ethical principles and guidelines for the protection of human subjects of research.” Bethesda, Md.: The Commission.

O’Neil, C. (2016). Weapons of Math Destruction. New York: Crown Publishing Group.

Pardo, A. & Siemens, G. (2014). Ethical and privacy principles for learning analytics. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(3), 438-450.

Sclater, N. (2014). Code of practice for learning analytics: A literature review of the ethical and legal issues. JISC, 2-60.

Sclater, N. (2016). Developing a Code of Practice for Learning Analytics. Journal of Learning Analytics.  3(1), 16-42.

Wenger-Trayner, E. & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Communities of practice: A Brief introduction. Communities of Practice, 1-8.

Willis, J., Slade, S. & Prinsloo, P. (2016). Ethical oversight of student data in learning analytics: a typology derived from a cross-continental, cross-institutional perspective. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(5), 881-901.