Archive for category Keynotes

Future of learning analytics: LASI Bilbao

I visited the University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain, to give a keynote at the learning analytics summer institute there (LASI Bilbao 2016) on 28 June 2016. The event brought people together from the Spanish Network of Learning Analytics (SNOLA), which was responsible for organising the event, in conjunction with the international Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR).

Later in the day, I ran another in the LACE series of workshops on ethics and privacy in learning analytics (EP4LA).

Keynote abstract

What does the future hold for learning analytics? In terms of Europe’s priorities for learning and training, they will need to support relevant and high-quality knowledge, skills and competences developed throughout lifelong learning. More specifically, they should improve the quality and efficiency of education and training, enhance creativity and innovation, and focus on learning outcomes in areas such as employability, active-citizenship and well-being. This is a tall order and, in order to achieve it, we need to consider how our work fits into the larger picture. Drawing on the outcomes of two recent European studies, Rebecca will discuss how we can avoid potential pitfalls and develop an action plan that will drive the development of analytics that enhance both learning and teaching.


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GMW Keynote

GMW thank you presents

Personalised thanks from the conference organisers

On 3 September, I was invited to give a keynote talk for GMW (Gesellschaft für Medien in der Wissenschaft – Society for Media in Science) in Munich at the Interdis 2015 conference.


The promise of learning analytics is that they will enable us to understand and optimize learning and the environments in which it takes place.  The intention is to develop models, algorithms, and processes that can be widely used. In order to do this, we need to move from small-scale research within our disciplines towards large-scale implementation across our institutions. This is a tough challenge, because educational institutions are stable systems, resistant to change.
To avoid failure and maximize success, implementation of learning analytics at scale requires careful consideration of the entire ‘TEL technology complex’. This complex includes the different groups of people involved, the educational beliefs and practices of those groups, the technologies they use, and the specific environments within which they operate. Providing reliable and trustworthy analytics is just one part of implementing analytics at scale. It is also important to develop a clear strategic vision, assess institutional culture critically, identify potential barriers to adoption, develop approaches that can overcome these, and put in place appropriate forms of support, training, and community building. In her keynote, Rebecca will introduce tools, resources, organisations and case studies that can be used to support the deployment of learning analytics at scale.

GMW keynote


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Rethinking Education

I was recently invited to Stockholm, to speak at the ‘Rethinking Education‘ conference run by the Ratio Institute. The conference objective was ‘to focus on the need to design for the future education and skills systems that enable young people and adults to develop the knowledge and skills needed in the labour market, as well as for personal development and important societal goals.’

My focus was on the benefits and challenges offered by MOOCs, with particular reference to FutureLearn.

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Southern SoLAR Flare Keynote

On 29 November I gave a keynote on ‘Social Learning Analytics: Some Approaches’ at the Southern SoLAR Flare held at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

The SoLAR Southern Flare Conference (SSFC) introduced the potential of learning analytics to practitioners, academics, researchers, administrators, and anyone interested in learner-centred data driven practices. The attendees included representatives from over half the universities in Australia and New Zealand as well as participants from industry. The Flare was blogged by event chair Shirley Alexander.

Keynote abstract

Universities around the world are currently exploring radical new approaches to post-compulsory education, based around online courses with no formal entry requirements or constraints on class sizes, combining the power of social networks for learning with open access learning materials (Kop, 2011; Kop, Fournier, & Sui Fai, 2011). These massive open online courses (MOOCs) include MITx, which offers a portfolio of MIT courses to a virtual community of learners around the world free of charge, and the Stanford ‘Introduction to Artificial Intelligence’ course that signed up 160,000 students from 190 countries in 2011 (Leckhart & Cheshire, 2012).
For these and similar courses to be educationally effective, they not only demand new methods of teaching, but also new approaches to providing individualized support, new ways of tracking and managing the learning of thousands of students, and new tools that will help learners to orient themselves in complex online settings and develop a coherent view of an information space (Siemens, 2011).
This presentation will showcase The UK Open University’s research into the development of social learning analytics – analytics that can be used to understand and support how learners build knowledge together in different cultural and social settings, both inside and outside formal education.

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