While collecting data can help improve the student's outcomes and identify areas where they might need additional support, these data can be invasive and harm the student's privacy.
So, what exactly are the ethics of student data collection and why are they important?
In this article, we will be discussing the ethics of data collection to improve educational outcomes.
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Ethical Data Collection of Students - Privacy and Paternalism
Now, when, online education and learning have come on the rise, and students have various data surrounding them. It also includes sensitive information related to health, family, and academic performance.
In the case, these data are not protected adequately, they could be used for nefarious purposes, such as theft of identity or targeted advertising.
It also raises concerns about potential paternalism.
It is when someone in a position of power restricts the autonomy of any other person for their good. For student data collection, educators, and administrators might invade these data and use them without their consent or knowledge.
This case can be seen as paternalistic, as these students have no idea of how their data is used, and who has access to them.
Therefore, it is a must to understand the importance of online privacy.
Important Guidelines in Student Data Collection
So, how can you ensure that these data are safe? If it's authorized only to the right person!
All these ideas come under the guidelines in student data collection. It is important to understand student privacy ethics and autonomy, and then only collect and use these data.
With the rising number of educational privacy ethics issues, we've mentioned some key principles that aim to develop such guidelines.
We've discussed how one can collect student data. Let's have a look!
Transparency in Data Collection
Transparency is one of the key principles in collecting student data. It involves being open and clear about what data is being collected, what's the purpose behind collecting them, and how the collected data will be used.
What's also important is to build trust between students, their families, and the school, and get their consent.
In the case of student data collection, transparency refers to the educators and administrators being clear about the types of student data that are being collected which can be performance data, demographic information, or health-related information.
It should be clear on why these data are collected and how they shall be used.
Informed Consent from Students
Consent is another key principle of student data collection. It involves getting permission from the students or their families before collecting, using, or sharing these personal data.
Each individual has the right to be fully informed about what data are being collected, why it is being collected, and how they will be used.
Thus, having the ability to make an informed decision is a must.
Such information should be provided in a way that is accessible to all students and their families regardless of their literacy or language skills.
Informed consent also gives students and families to opt out of the data collection.
Minimal Data Collection
This rule emphasizes collecting only data that are a must. here, the very minimum amount of data is collected to achieve the educational goals.
Such data collection is targeted and purposeful, rather than excessive or indiscriminate.
The principle of minimal data collection helps protect student privacy and limit potential data from misuse or abuse.
Further, it also helps educators and administrators to not overburden themselves by managing unnecessary data, which can be time-consuming resulting in being costly as well.
Secure Storage of Collected Data
Once the data has been collected from students, it is a must that they are protected and stored in a place where only the authorized authority can use them. Secure data storage is a principle in student data collecting that involves storing data safely and securely.
It helps prevent unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of personal information.
This is a must because protecting student privacy prevents data breaches, which if not taken care of lead to identify theft, financial fraud, and other harms.
In this principle, educators and administrators use various security measures such as encryption, firewalls, and such to protect data from unauthorized access and theft.
Data use is a principle in student data collection that agrees on using student data ethically and responsibly to achieve the required educational goals.
It means that administrators should only use the data for legitimate educational purposes like improving student achievement, supporting student learning, and evaluating educational programs.
Student data collection should not be used for purposes that are unrelated to education, like marketing, or advertising without obtaining informed consent from families and students.
Retention of Data
Data retention is where the collected data should be viewed regularly and apply retention policies and practices. It ensures that they are retaining the data only for as long as it is to achieve the educational goals.
The process involves retaining data for a certain period after a student graduates or leaves the school, and deleting data that is no longer necessary.
It is important because it helps protect student privacy and prevent unnecessary use of personal information.
It is a principle in student data collection which involves taking responsibility for the use, protection, and management of the collected data.
It is a must that administrators need to be transparent about the collected data and use practices to provide clear and easily understandable information.
The principle helps ensure that the data is used responsibly and ethically, and hat educators are held responsible for any misuse or mishandling of personal information.
In the ethics of student data collection, we spoke about how these data should be transparent, and have informed consent. We also mentioned collecting minimal data, securing them, using them in time of need, retaining them time and again, and being accountable for the information collected.
By adhering to these principles, educators can ensure the safety of the data and achieve educational goals.
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While student data collection can be a powerful tool, it comes with potential benefits and responsibilities along with ethical concerns around privacy and paternalism.