Mary Francis

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Mejai Avoseh


Learning analytics are starting to become standardized in higher education as institutions use the techniques of Big Data analytics to make decisions to help them reach their goals. The widespread use of student information brings forth ethical concerns primarily in relation to privacy. While the overarching ethical issues related to learning analytics are discussed in the literature, there has been a call for more studies to examine how they are put into practice. This case study used interviews and other data resources to determine how privacy is addressed within a student success information system at a public institution of higher education. During the inductive coding process three main themes emerged related to the connection between FERPA and privacy, methods to maintain privacy, and students’ connection with their data. A deductive coding process was also undertaken to determine how the institution addressed the privacy principles put forth in the larger privacy literature. Overall, the findings showed the institution had a minimal understanding of privacy concerns related to learning analytics. This was not unexpected given the length of time the system had been in use at the institution. Recommendations for the institution include developing policies and procedures to guide their use of learning analytics moving forward.

Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education


Learning analytics

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota



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