Academic Services

Learning Analytics Policy and Governance

Information on the development of institutional Policy on Learning Analytics, and governance arrangements for establishing new Learning Analytics activities. 

Learning Analytics is concerned with how data generated by learning management systems, student systems and other sources can be used to understand, and improve, the learning experiences of students.

Task Group

The University has established a task group, reporting to the Senate Learning and Teaching and the Knowledge Strategy Committee to develop and consult on the Policy.

Professor Dragan Gasevic, Chair of Learning Analytics and Informatics, is convening the group which includes representatives from Colleges and the Edinburgh University’s Students Association. Its remit and membership can be downloaded below.

Communication and Engagement activities

The task group has undertaken a range of communication and engagement activities in Semester Two, 2016-17, to support the development of the Policy, including:

  • Discussion at Senate on 1 February 2017
  • Discussion at the Senate Learning and Teaching Committee (LTC) and Knowledge Strategy Committee (KSC) in January/February 2017
  • Meetings with Schools, Colleges, and other stakeholders
  • A sample-based student survey, and a staff survey
  • Focus groups with staff and students
  • Opportunities for stakeholders to provide written submissions on a set of Principles and Purposes

Statement of Principles and Purposes

The Task Group has produced a short document setting out the Principles and Purposes of the University's approach to Learning Analytics.  Following consultation, LTC and KSC approved this document in May / June 2017.

Developing a more detailed Policy

During 2017-18, the Group will oversee the development of a more detailed Policy document setting out how the University will handle issues such as data governance, consent and security.

Governance arrangements for new Learning Analytics activities

The Senate Learning and Teaching Committee and the Knowledge Strategy Committee have established a review group to scrutinise plans for substantial new learning analytics activities. The group will be able to assist proposers to align their activities with the University's Principles and to meet practical and regulatory issues (eg regarding data protection and security), and will also assist the University to share good practices in this developing area.

The group consists of:

  • Convenor - a senior academic member of staff with expertise in Learning Analytics
  • The Assistant Principal with strategic responsibility for Learning Analytics
  • A student representative
  • The University’s Data Protection Officer
  • Representatives from relevant service units (Universities Secretaries Group and Information Services Group)
  • A member of academic staff with expertise in research ethics.

Schools, Colleges or support groups planning to develop any of the following categories of learning analytics activities, should ask the group to review the proposals:

  • Projects that involve processing and utilising individual students’ learning analytics data in order to provide them with targeted / personalised support;
  • Projects that involve third parties in the processing of data for learning analytics purposes;
  • Projects involving the processing of individualised learning analytics data relating to students from more than one School;
  • Any other learning analytics activities that appear likely to create particular challenges or risks.

Proposers should contact Tom Ward (Tom.Ward@ed.ac.uk) to arrange for the group to consider their plans.

Schools have for many years undertaken small-scale analysis of (typically anonymised) data on student engagement and learning for relatively routine quality assurance and enhancement purposes. While it is important that all such activities comply with the relevant legal and regulatory frameworks, it is not necessary to seeking approval from the group for activities of this type unless they fall into the categories set out above.

Other Learning Analytics activities

Information on other Learning Analytics activities at the University is available at:

Information Services Learning Analytics

Contact Information

For further information, contact:

Tom Ward

Director of Academic Services

Contact details