Students as Lead Designers of Learning Analytics Dashboards:Lessons learned in a Northern Irish University

December 21, 2020    0 comment

Proceedings of ‏The 2nd International Conference on Research in Teaching and Education

Year: 2020


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Students as Lead Designers of Learning Analytics Dashboards:Lessons learned in a Northern Irish University

Paul Joseph-Richard1and Andrew Jaffrey2



There is an increasing scholarly and practitioner interest in developing user-centred, personalized learning analytics dashboards(LADs) in higher education institutions, tosupport student success and improve learning and teaching. In most implementation efforts, however, ateacher-centric, institutional view tends to drive dashboard designs, while using students only as data providers. We stretched our engagement approach by empowering them to be thelead-designers of LADsto learn what data they would like presented in a dashboard, and how. Using a novel cord sorting technique, we asked 42 Northern Irish university students to construct dashboards that reflect their priorities. Using observation, photography and semi-structured interviews, we collected data on student-constructeddashboards. Content analysis of students’ constructions revealed a strong preference for theinclusion of personal financial data (money spent so far vs resources utilized),among others,and exclusion of social media data. Thematic analysis of qualitative data uncovered within-group variations in students’ LAD-related assumptions, particularly between undergraduates and postgraduates, and between international and home students. Participants challenged institutional overreliance on measurable digital footprints as proxies for academic success and emphasised the need for including success stories of their peers and seniors, in future dashboards. In advocating story-integrated LADs, we call for designs that better reflect learners’ everyday needs and priorities. We provide a caution that offering genuine control and oversight to students fordesigning LADs, despite being useful, might be more complex than currently assumed in the literature. We discuss pedagogical implications for teachersandLA designers in advancing student-led LA designs.

Keywords:Personalization; student-led design; learner engagement; customised design, learning analytics dashboards.

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Paul Joseph-Richar

Ulster University Business School, Ulster University, Northern Ireland, UK

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Andrew Jaffrey

Office for Digital Learning, Ulster University, Northern Ireland, UK

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