Block 2: Week 8 Visualization

My week of secrets.

One of the most interesting concepts I encountered during my readings in this block is the idea of “Liquid Surveillance”. Normalizing the datafication of the different elements of our lives thereby generating a constant flow of data about individuals (Williamson et al. 2020). I am conscious that most of this data collection is enforced by digital technologies, however, I wanted to explore the intentionality of data sharing from an individual perspective. 

This week I decided to track all the times I intentionally withheld information in different spaces of my life namely: work, study, personal, and social life. This was important to track because of the increasing concerns of data privacy and how it affects the willingness to share personal data. The image below shows my visualization and some observations I picked from it.

Findings from my visualization

The first thing I realized was how unwilling I was to share personal data irrespective of the engagement space. It was interesting that whenever providing personal data was optional I quickly took the opportunity to skip especially when using digital technologies. It didn’t matter whether I was completing a recommendation for a student or I trying to create a profile for a social media platform (Raffaghelli and Stewart, 2020).

Another observation from my activity this week was that I was less trusting with sharing data online than in face-to-face interaction.  However, given how datafied all our systems of learning and teaching have become, it is almost impossible to avoid sharing information since most times we are not given the option to do otherwise (Sarikakis and Winter, 2017).  Also, this idea that the data recorded is stored and can be used in the future to the benefit or the detriment of the individual raises an even bigger concern about data privacy beyond just the collection and use of data but the ethical implications of data sharing and management (Raffaghelli and Stewart, 2020).

Reflection on this data in teaching 

Teachers should understand that given the option, students are not readily open to sharing personal information because of the raising awareness of data privacy and its effects on the students in the future.

Teachers are mostly in possession of individual student data collected either through the admission platforms or just learning activity. It is important to understand how improper management of said data can have a detrimental effect on students in the future. Hence the pressing need for teachers to undergo new forms of data literacy beyond the collection and interpretation of data (Raffaghelli and Stewart, 2020)

Finally, teachers should understand that since individuals are not willingly open to sharing personal data, dashboards and other learning management tools might create analyses that are false due to manipulated data from learners.


Raffaghelli, J. and Stewart, B., 2020. Centering complexity in ‘educators’ data literacy’ to support future practices in faculty development: a systematic review of the literature. Teaching in Higher Education, 25(4), pp.435-455.

Sarikakis, K. and Winter, L., 2017. Social Media Users’ Legal Consciousness About Privacy. Social Media + Society, 3(1), p.205630511769532.

Williamson, B., Bayne, S. and Shay, S., 2020. The datafication of teaching in Higher Education: critical issues and perspectives. Teaching in Higher Education, 25(4), pp.351-365.

One reply on “Block 2: Week 8 Visualization”

Great idea to “track all the times I intentionally withheld information”! There is now quite a thriving field of advice on how to anonymize one’s self or “obfuscate” systems of data collection. Yet education seems to point precisely the opposite way, doesn’t it? The idea of teaching with data demands the sharing of increasingly personal data, and more of it, for purposes that are often unclear and of questionable benefit for the student. It’s great to see you engaging with issues of its “improper use”. For example, there is now a significant amount of campaigning around “proctoring” software used for distance examinations. A lot of this campaigning is on moral and ethical grounds, but is beginning to stir up legal action too, e.g. unlawful use of students’ biometric data under certain legal frameworks.

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