Synopsis of 2nd HEAS meeting (11 Sep 2019)

An international group of scholars exploring Higher Education After Surveillance met again on September 11, 2019, this time with a few new faces and new plans for collaboration. The meeting began with an opportunity for participants to share updates or related work that they have been doing or that they are aware of. Here are some highlights:

  • sava shared the launch of her three Screening Surveillance films. sava is planning to share these films at Datum 2019 (an unconference hosted by the Race, Space, Place Initiative at Virginia Commonwealth University) and various other conferences this year. She is also working with Val Steeves (University of Ottawa) on the Disconnection Challenge.
  • Anna is starting an empirical study in January focused on potential impact on student mental health of constant presentations of self in forms of data. Anna will conduct this study with her students.
  • Martin shared his Domains keynote on tracking visual and facial recognition (read his blog post here). The organization Martin works for, Association for Learning Technology, is doing work in educating folks about GDPR. Martin also shared that ALT’s OER 20 conference in London will focus on care and openness, with the subtheme openness in the age of surveillance.
  • Yuwei shared a recent project to use analog art projects to incite conversations about data and privacy. Read her blog post about that work here. The project showed people’s polarized views on learning analytics in higher education.
  • Amy shared the work that her group is doing at Middlebury, including two ‘cryptoparty’ workshops (hands-on events to help students take more control over their own data; example here) and a digital detox hike with incoming first year students. 
  • Anne-Marie shared the final output of the SHEILA project (Supporting Higher Education to Integrate Learning Analytics). SHEILA shared its 6 key findings based on surveys, interviews, focus groups, and a group concept mapping activity with stakeholders. Their findings indicate that early learning analytics efforts were often deployed without clear strategies or frameworks and that ethics and privacy were a key factor in student buy-in for the use of learning analytics at their institutions. SHEILA developed a policy framework for learning analytics in higher education, available here.

The second half of the meeting was dedicated to a discussion of a new collaboration we’re calling The Higher Education Surveillance Observatory. This idea, put forward at the first ‘after surveillance’ meeting and taken forward by Jen, Anne-Marie, Brian, and Tom could provide a crowdsourced way of collecting information about surveillance tools and practices at different institutions. The Observatory would allow folks to share information on problematic practices and good practices at their own or other institutions. Jen has written a follow-up blog post about the Observatory.

The attendees of this second meeting were:

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