A national webinar entitled ‘Data Literacy, Privacy and Protection in Higher Education’ was held on Thursday 22 October 2020. The webinar was the first in a series of national webinars from the National Forum to take a closer look at key findings from the Irish National Digital Experience (INDEx) Survey.
The webinar summarised key INDEx findings in relation to data privacy and data protection, informed by close to 30,000 students and staff who teach from across Irish higher education, and explored these with respect to teaching and learning, institutional policies, digital and data literacies, and student-staff partnership. Considering the importance of institutions’ GDPR obligations and concerns about personal data privacy more broadly, it is important to ensure students’ data privacy and protection, to communicate clearly to the institutional community regarding related protective measures that are in place, and to support both staff and students with the necessary knowledge and resources. With just half of students agreeing that their institution protected their data privacy, fewer than a third agreeing that they were informed about how their personal data was stored and used, and half of all staff who teach agreeing that they were informed about their responsibilities with regard to managing learner data securely, the INDEx findings suggest that additional work is required on this issue.
A three-speaker panel was moderated by Dr Catherine Cronin, Strategic Education Developer, National Forum:
- Kevin McStravock – Deputy President and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Union of Students in Ireland. Kevin provided a brief overview of students’ perspectives on data protection and privacy, referring to INDEx findings, as well as issues that students encounter when using the internet and electronic devices.
- Dr Gearóid Ó Súilleabháin – Head of Department of Technology Enhanced Learning, Cork Institute of Technology. Gearóid explored data privacy and protection from an institutional perspective, including examples of how INDEx findings have been built upon at CIT.
- Dr Bonnie Stewart – Assistant Professor of Online Pedagogy and Workplace Learning, Faculty of Education, University of Windsor, Canada. Bonnie explored how systems we rely on for scholarship and teaching increasingly translate digital experience into behavioural data and how the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread adoption of online learning amplify the need to address data literacies and practices in higher education.
This webinar concluded with a panel-participant question and answer session.
The recording for this webinar can be found here.