Dear Go-Lab teachers,

This is a special newsletter to inform you on changes concerning our Learning Analytics (LA) apps following the new privacy and data management rule issued by the European Commission.

In Go-Lab we have a number of apps that use online data from students. These data that concern students’ activities (e.g., change of phases) or products (e.g., concept maps) are registered while students are working in an ILS, if tracking is activated. These can be apps specifically designed for you as a teacher (e.g., the action statistics app that shows the number of actions per app and per student) or these can be apps specifically designed for students (such as the reflection tool that shows student time spent in a phase compared to a teacher norm) and apps that can be suited for both teachers and students (such as the concept map aggregation app that shows all concepts and their relations in a group of students; this app can be used by you to see what students use as concepts but also by students to compare their own concept to the group concept map). Due to the new EU regulations, some of these apps will disappear and others will be rebuilt, providing you in the end with a clearer and better set of well-functioning LA apps.

A first aspect that has changed under the new regulations is how you activate the LA apps. Until recently, these apps were functioning by default and you had to explicitly indicate if you did not want the apps collecting data (this is called opt-out). Now, due to the new regulations, the LA apps are not active by default and you have to activate them yourself (opt-in). You can activate the LA apps in several ways. When you create an ILS directly in Graasp you are prompted to tick an “Enable Learning Analytics” box. When you create an ILS from a lab in Golabz (through the create ILS button) you can active LA by going to your settings an click the same tick box. If you have activated LA you will notice that a “member” (called AngelA) has been added to your list of members. Once LA is activated and students are working in an ILS, usage data are recorded in, the secured platform hosting and running your ILSs. If you change your mind later, you can always turn on/off LA activation by going to your settings and untick the box. There is now a short movie on Learning Analytics available here, where you can see all options again.

Before, in addition of using the server hosted at EPFL, some apps requiring additional processing were relying on an external service. These apps will not function anymore. Apps that will disappear and not return in the near future are the wiki app, the semantic group formation app, and the concept cloud. We will try to offer a replacement for the wiki app as soon as possible, but the other two apps are not used very frequently so they will not be replaced. We are working on alternatives for the action statistics and timeline apps. These apps show you an overview of, for example, which apps have been used over time and for how long. To further prepare the functionality of these apps we will ask our teacher community which student data you like to see visualized. The user visualization app (now showing you at a certain point in time how many students are in a specific phase of an ILS) will come back with extended functionality. For the concept map aggregation app, the concept map dashboard, and the reflection app we have already developed new versions that will only use the secured platform where you can visualize what is stored by selecting the Activity tab in any ILS. These alternatives need a bit more testing but will then replace the old versions without you having to do anything.

If you are using any LA apps in ILSs please check them on their functioning. If you have questions on how to replace them please do not hesitate to contact us, we are here to help you! We plan to have a new and better organized (making a student and a teacher dashboard) LA apps in the future and look forward to receiving your input to further shape these LA apps.

You can download the newsletter here

Kind regards,
Ton de Jong
Next-Lab coordinator

Wednesday, 11. April 2018