The notion of scientist needs to think like a scientist, an artist to think like an artist, a doctor to think like a doctor and an educator to think like an educator is prevalent. That is the same for students, as they might base their behavior on what they could share and learn with their knowledgeable others, their professors, their admired professionals within their domains. This is rational modelling rooted from an educational philosophy – zone of proximal development by Vysgotsky throughout the past decades.
The present challenges that most of us as educators are facing include:
1. How to ensure that our education is aligned with both the stakeholders needs and expectations and our students? Our stakeholders could include the government, education authorities, our employers, administrators, the students’ parents. Since each stakeholder has certain expectations which may be in conflict or tension with others, this requires educators and learners to understand why their urges or needs are not easily fulfilled. An example is the current demand of more customized education and learning, as shared in my previous post on learning with MOOCs and future education.
2. How to ensure that professionalism and calling are enculturated in the community? This has been a challenging issue. What would be the responsibility of educators to the stakeholders and students? What are the assumptions that are associated when taking those responsibilities. Teachers educated have often assumed that they should be responsible for “teaching and supporting their students”. When there was a failure in performing by the students, teachers were first called into place for explanation of those failure. What should be the proper intervention by the educators? What would learners expect from the educators, in terms of support and guidance?
The emergence of Learning Analytics as reported by Rebecca sound promising. “These included tools which applied statistical tests in order to predict, while courses are in progress, which students are in danger of falling behind. The aim is to produce actionable intelligence, guiding students to appropriate resources and explaining how to use them.”
Although these all seem to provide wonderful strategies and tools for educators, there are concerns relating to ethics, privacy, ownership of data and personal security. Have we got the permission from our learners on the personal data collected from them? As educators, to what extent should we judge our learners in terms of their behavior and interaction as revealed in the learning analytics?
Jenny referred in her post:
“Analytics may in time come to be used to judge you — as a learner, an educator, or your institution. The challenge for us is to debate what it means for this new breed of performance indicators to have pedagogical and ethical integrity. What can and should we do, and what are the limits? Do they advance what we consider to be important in learning, teaching, and what it means to be a higher education institution in the 21stCentury?”
I think the use of push analytics under the “big data” would soon become a way all learners, educators and institutions would be judged as evidenced in the learning analytics. I reckon we should be cautious in interpreting the data from the tools, as they are based on the assumptions that such measurements are reflective of the students’ performance of achievement in their learning in the course. To what extent is this valid?
In my previous post I mentioned that: “Educators are in need for non-intrusive and automatic ways to get feedback from learners’ progress in order to better follow their learning process and appraise the online course effectiveness.”
As recommended by Roy in his comments to my post, more dialectics is required to reveal the learning patterns of learners. This could be achieved through nested narratives by learners, but that also means that we need to take ethics, integrity and ownership into consideration in the narrative research and learning analytics process.