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