Lifestream, Pocket, Abstracting Learning Analytics


By Jeremy Knox

In his presentation at the second Code Acts seminar, Simon Buckingham-Shum raised important critical questions about Learning Analytics.

via Pocket

 In this blog post, Knox (2014) uses a trope of art to encourage a stepping away from representational logic in our critique of learning algorithms. He contends that our attachment to such logic assumes that ‘a good learning analytics is a transparent one’, and obscures the ‘the processes that have gone into the analysis itself’. 

If we strive for learning analytics to be transparent, to depict with precise fidelity the real behaviours of our students, then we are working to hide the processes inherent to analysis itelf.

In using the Russian propaganda poster, Knox comments, ‘The question is not whether Stalin lifted the child (the reality behind the image) but how and why the image itself was produced.’ I found this to be really effective use of image and metaphor, so it was useful both from the perspective of interrogating learning analytics and from that of thinking about how to integrate non-verbal modes in academic presentation. A great read.

Lifestream, Comment on Algorithmic experiment by Renee Furner

What a great idea, Stuart & Chenée!

The results were interesting too – I was surprised by the results to search 5, and the seeming existence of a ‘geographic memory’ despite your setting having been cleared.

I was also surprised that your Google topics were updated so rapidly: when I deleted a bunch (but nowhere near all – just a selection) of YouTube video from my browsing history (in youtube), my Google topics reverted to ‘none’ and did not update until the next day.

Your finding about comments in YouTube was another point of interest for me. During the MOOC micro-ethnography, I left comments on videos that we’d been asked to watch on youtube, to see if I could get some dialogue going outside of the Coursera platform, but didn’t get any responses. Your findings may suggest that in situations such as mine (then), algorithms can work against the establishment of community.

Super to read – thank you.

from Comments for Stuart’s EDC blog