Recommender systems, such as used by e-commerce firms as Amazon are regularly mentioned as one of the potential applications of learning analytics. For example, based on the sources accessed or links in the social network, students could get recommendations about potentially interesting articles, blogs or people.
Learning analytics could (should) also be student-centered. This means that students could be granted access to course data. For instance, they see how much time they’ve spent on various course activities and compare it with their peers. The question what students want generated discussion on the course forums. The idea, outlined by John Fritz in his presentation was that students take more responsibility for their own learning and strengthen their meta-cognitive abilities. They could get access to the data, but it would be their responsibility to interpret it and act upon it. However, most institutions are still in the phase of collecting heaps of data and analyzing them, without really predicting and modeling behavior, or using it to optimize learning.
“Institutions can’t “absolve” students from “at least partial responsibility for their own education. To do so denies both the right of the individual to refuse education and the right of the institution to be selective in its judgments as to who should be further educated. More importantly, it runs counter to the essential notion that effective education requires that individuals take responsibility for their own learning” (p. 144)
My first impressions on the MOOC are overwhelming, chaos and quality. The amount of e-mails and forum posts is staggering and different discussion are taking place simultaneously. However, it is not really the purpose of a MOOC to participate in everything but rather to be selective. In that way, a MOOC is a great way to get lectures, information and feedback of some of the leading researchers in the field. You are stimulated to read the materials and try to make sense of it at your own pace and on your own knowledge level. A next step is then to create something (like a forum post), share it and get into contact with “likeminded souls”. We’ll see how that plays out.