This document provides answers to some frequently asked questions that students have about learning analytics, and about the Learner Engagement Analytics Dashboard (LEAD).
This FAQ is provided to supplement information about student privacy that is provided in the Teaching and Learning Data Transparency Statement, which can also be accessed from the Learning Analytics at UW-Madison page on the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning website.
Learning analytics “is the undertaking of activities that generate actionable data from the learning environment intended to improve student outcomes by informing structure, content, delivery or support of the learning environment”. More information is available on the Learning Analytics at UW-Madison page on the Office of the Provosts' website.
Your instructor may require you to use digital learning tools as part of your required course work. Data about your activities and interactions with digital learning tools is automatically generated and collected by those tools when you use and interact with them. The collection and retention of this data is necessary to permit the learning tools to operate as designed and to deliver the teaching and learning capabilities required. When this activity data is used by your instructor for learning analytics, we require such usage to be consistent with Learning Analytics Guiding Principles. More information about how your data is protected is on the UW-Madison Teaching and Learning Data Transparency Statement; information about your privacy rights protected by FERPA is available at the Registrar website.
The Learner Engagement Analytics Dashboard is a course-level learning analytics dashboard that displays activity data from Canvas, Kaltura Mediaspace and Unizin Engage eText to course instructors.
Strict access and provisioning protocols are in place to ensure LEAD is only seen by instructors and university staff having a specific authorized purpose. This includes principal course instructors (a designation assigned by individual schools and departments), as well as auxiliary and supervisory instructors. In some cases, principal instructors may be TAs. UW-Madison strictly forbids any instructor’s use of restricted data obtained from LEAD for non-instructional purposes.
UW-Madison takes the utmost care to protect the privacy and security of student data. We are working diligently to ensure that strict requirements for protection of your data will be carefully incorporated into a planned student view of learning activity data, as well as additional contextual information to help interpret these data. While this is not yet available for students, you can see an example of student data accessible in LEAD in this Knowledge Base article.
An instructor’s decision to use learning analytics approaches and tools (such as LEAD) is a pedagogical decision and thus within the instructor’s discretion. UW-Madison does not mandate the use of learning analytics tools by instructors. UW-Madison has established guiding principles that state that learning analytics should be used for the benefit of students, and central to its use should be: student success, improved learning experiences for the student, and improved outcomes for students.