Learning analytics work extends long-standing library assessment and evaluation practices and they may help further demonstrate library impact on student learning, faculty productivity, and more. Nonetheless, regardless of the benefits, learning analytics work unquestionably presents challenges to student privacy, thus straining the professional ethics commitments that librarians make to uphold user confidentiality, respect privacy in information seeking and use, and support intellectual freedom. When facing these “privacy conundrums,” librarians may refrain from engaging with campus learning analytics projects, meaning that librarian values around privacy and confidentiality are missing from those campus conversations and that libraries are marginalized in campus discussions of student success. As such, there is a pressing need to train librarians to handle the particular data ethics issues that arise in learning analytics work-especially the privacy issues-before they begin pursuing learning analytics projects.
Indeed, there is no lack of documentation of the pressing need for training on privacy in learning analytics. Reports from recent IMLS-funded projects (Library Values & Privacy in Our National Digital Strategies, A National Forum on Web Privacy and Web Analytics Prioritizing Privacy, and Library Integration in Institutional Learning Analytics) all express this need. This session shares the in-development curriculum for Prioritizing Privacy, an IMLS-funded professional development program that addresses these needs.
Prioritizing Privacy will teach academic library practitioners about privacy and other related ethical issues associated with learning analytics, provide them structured experiences to reflect on ethical issues intentionally and purposefully, and support the development of privacy protections for their learning analytics projects.