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Charles Severance

I think that in two years, 'analytics' will no longer be a buzzword in common use. The funding agencies will realize that it was not as much as a solution as they had hoped and then they will stop talking about it and then shortly thereafter all the 'experts' will stop talking about analytics and there will be no more conferences on analytics.

The conversation will then move on to some other magic, futuristic technical solution buzzword. And there will be new conferences about that new topic that have zero real teachers as attendees because the travel costs are so expensive. And then three years after that the pattern will repeat itself again.

I wish that we could find a way to include more teachers in discussing the futures of educations. But alas, they might bring up some inconvenient truths.


Ooh Chuck, I think this has brought out your cynical side :)
On the travel thing I disagree - to be fair George ran a free, open, online course too, and streamed the conference live, so I think accusations of elitism are unfair - at least compared to any other subject that has conferences.
But on the buzzword thing may well be true. I think we'll see a typical patternnof over- hype (it will solve all your problems), disillusionment, corporatisation and then acknowledgement that although it didn't do everything people once planned, it does do some useful things.
I still think the analytics for learners route will be potentially powerful, particularly for informal learners.


Not sure if it's even more cynical, but it seems to me that the prime audience for this isn't teachers. Not sure we should be bothering them with this at all.

The magic words "student retention", however, will get you the undivided attention of quite a few Vice Chancellors in the UK. Losing students is a phenomenally expensive hobby here. Any tool or technique that gives a handle on that issue is worth pursuing. Or does that not fit under 'learning analytics'?


It's definitely learning analytics, and I agree. It is also part of my anxiety around point 4). But if we take an uncynical view then if data patterns help spot students who are struggling before it gets too bad, and where a little intervention may be the thing that helps them and keeps them studying then it is probably a win-win. Isn't it?


@Charles The word might be gone in two years, but from some of the things we saw over those three days, those ideas are going to be here for a very long time and for just the reason that Wilm suggets. Retention.

The best of the work that I saw, and the most interesting to me, was where the data was sent directly to the student. If you can take connections data, and present it transparently to the student (or as transparently as you can) you give them a tangible tool to help them understand what they are doing.

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