One of the events that I’ve been involved with over the past few years is UBC’s Learning Analytics Hackathons. These events usually involve around 100+ students cramming into the very cool, but windowless, Sauder Learning Labs for a full day or weekend. They dig into data from educational technologies and explore by doing the ways that the data supports (or doesn’t) their learning. It’s a very hands-on maker pedagogy approach.
One of the reasons I like being involved in these events is that they provide real transparency for students – learning technology collects data so giving students the opportunity to work with that data brings it out of the black box and into the sunlight. The goal for the most recent hackathon was to use anonymized data from a Canvas course to help an instructor answer real questions about their course. As I mention in the below article, I’m always impressed by participants’ enthusiasm and dedication. Students have real expertise in their own learning experiences and a real nuanced perspective around data and its use for learning – being able to engage with them in this space is always a fun and informative experience.