No doubt, this week’s highlight has been the return of my girls to nursery/school. For this week’s data visualisation, however, I decided to visualise my highlighting of one of the core readings (Williamson, Bayne & Shay, 2020). Each rectangle represents a page. I always print out my reading material but it would also be possible to use one of the many highlighting tools for marking text online or in PDFs for example.
I normally don’t use different colours but have done for this exercise and I think it’s something that I will keep up in particular highlighting sections that I may want to refer to in my summaries or assignment.
I can see the potential benefits of analysing how highlighting is used for learners. The data may tell me if I have understood everything or whether I need to go away and do further research. It may also be useful in identifying which texts are particularly relevant for assignments if highlighting has been done with this in mind. Highlighting text is highly individual though and representing data in a dashboard, for example, would most likely not be valid.
In terms of teaching, however, I’m not sure how useful this data would be. Is it more of a box-ticking exercise to indicate that students have read the text similar to measuring attendance described by Brown (2020)? Could teachers actually see how students have engaged with the text? I’m not sure data like this would make an impact on teachers’ pedagogic response due to a lack of quality. It is also questionable whether teachers would have time to look at this data given their already-stretched workload.
Aside from issues regarding quality and validity, instructors may also lack the required data literacy in order to interpret results. As surfaced in Raffaghelli & Stewart (2020, p.435), ‘most approaches to educators’ data literacy address management and technical abilities, with less emphasis on critical, ethical and personal approaches to datafication in education.’ In a world where data are becoming increasingly important, there should be an emphasis on debates around privacy, ethics and equality (Raffaghelli & Stewart, 2020) for teachers, institutions and students.
Brown, M. (2020.) Seeing students at scale: how faculty in large lecture courses act upon learning analytics dashboard data. Teaching in Higher Education, 25:4, 384-400, DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2019.1698540 Williamson, B., Bayne, S. & Shay, S. (2020). The datafication of teaching in Higher Education: critical issues and perspectives. Teaching in Higher Education, 25:4, 351-365, DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2020.1748811