Student and staff data: use of data analytics and machine learning

Jen Persson made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Oxford Brookes University as part of a batch sent to 60 authorities

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear Oxford Brookes University,

I am making a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

Please can you provide information pertaining to any data analytics software used by the university using personal data about your students and staff, since 2012.

1a). Whether you are using any data analytics software at all:
1b) if so, which ones?
1c) what date this data analytics processing began?
1d) indicate whether in the past and ended, or still in current use

2a). Any predictive analytics software such as used in but not only, Blackboard, Xray and JISC supported Civitas.
2b) if so, which ones?
2c) what date this analytics processing began for predictive purposes?

3. If the answer to Q1a or Q2a is yes, please provide a copy of any contract terms on using the data by the provider company including
a) the data items feedling analytics, any profiling, and/or used in prediction
b) what the prediction purposes / aims are
c) training the software (such as AI and machine learning) by the provider using the data provided via your organisation.

4. Whether the University is using its own student or staff population data for machine learning for purposes not included in 1-3 above? (ie but not only, within the university computing department for any project or with another third-party)

5. From which time periods were the student or staff data collected which are processed in any of the above (ie not only, retrospective student data from the last ten years / only current intake which began in autumn term 2018)?

6. How many people/user accounts have access to the whole population student data in any of the above in this calendar year?

Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,

Jen Persson

Victoria Whittenbury, Oxford Brookes University

Dear Jen Persson 

Freedom of Information Act Request - our reference 2018-219.

Thank you for your email dated 28th November 2018 requesting information
from Oxford Brookes University about data analytics software used by the
University using personal data about our students and staff, since 2012.

The University will respond on or before 31st December 2018, the date on
which the 20 working day response period permitted by the Freedom of
Information Act ends.

I may need to contact you again if the request needs to be clarified; this
is to ensure that we provide you with the information you require.

Please note that in certain cases some information you have requested may
not be provided to you; this will only be information that can be withheld
by law. In these cases the reasons will be explained to you along with
your copy of any information that can be released to you.

Yours Sincerely

Victoria Whittenbury 
--
Victoria Whittenbury
Information Governance Officer
IT Services 
Oxford Brookes University
01865 484354
Please note my usual working days are:
Monday to Wednesday (9:00am - 2:00pm) and Thursday (9:30am - 1:00pm)

Vanna Leathart, Oxford Brookes University

Dear Jen,
We are processing your request of 28 november 2018, but before we go any
further, I woudl like to ask for clarification on one point.  This is to
ensure that we understand your request fully and so can provide you with
accurate and relevant data.
Could you let me know how you define data analytics software? Most, if not
all of our database applications and other information systems will have
reporting functionality but are you only interested in analytics in the
modern sense of 'big data', historical insight analysis and the linking of
disparate data sets?  
Once we have received your clarification, I will reconfirm the date by
which we will respond, and we will continue to gather the information you
have requested.
Kind Regards
Vanna Leathart
--
Vanna Leathart
University Records Manager
IT Services
Oxford Brookes University
Tel: +44 (0)1865 484046
Please note my normal working days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Dear Vanna Leathart,

data analytics software such as those used to analyse student data.

These may be mined for insights and patterns about individuals; for example into attendance, behavioural patterns, attainment, personal characteristics or retention.

Data analytics may also mean learning analytics, and refers to the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about the progress of learners and the contexts in which learning takes place.

Yours sincerely,

Jen Persson

Vanna Leathart, Oxford Brookes University

Dear Jen,
Thank you for your clarification.  I will pass this information to the
relevant department and we will respond to you on or before 20 February
2019.
Kind Regards
Vanna

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Vanna Leathart,
per your request for clarification and reply in February, the response to this FOI is now long overdue (made November 218, 2018).

Please can you provide a response and the information requested.
Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jen Persson

Vanna Leathart, Oxford Brookes University

Dear Jen Persson,

Freedom of Information Act Request - our reference 2019-145.

Thank you for your email dated 1 July 2019 requesting information from
Oxford Brookes University about data analytics and machine learning.  I
must apologise for the fact that your earlier request was not completed. I
am looking ionto how this has happened.  However, as the time between our
failure to respond and your email explaining this has been several months,
we are treating this as a new request.

The University will respond on or before 30 July 2091, the date on which
the 20 working day response period permitted by the Freedom of Information
Act ends.

I may need to contact you again if the request needs to be clarified; this
is to ensure that we provide you with the information you require.

Please note that in certain cases some information you have requested may
not be provided to you; this will only be information that can be withheld
by law. In these cases the reasons will be explained to you along with
your copy of any information that can be released to you.

Yours Sincerely

Vanna Leathart
--
Vanna Leathart
University Records Manager
IT Services
Oxford Brookes University
Tel: +44 (0)1865 484046
Please note my normal working days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Vanna Leathart, Oxford Brookes University

Dear Jen Persson,

Freedom of Information Act Request - our reference 2019-145.

Further to your email of 1 July 2019 asking for information from Oxford
Brookes University about data analytics and machine learning, I am able to
provide the following information in response to your request.

You asked:

Please can you provide information pertaining to any data analytics
software used by the university using personal data about your students
and staff, since 2012.

1a). Whether you are using any data analytics software at all:
1b) if so, which ones?
1c) what date this data analytics processing began?
1d) indicate whether in the past and ended, or still in current use

Answer:

We are not currently using anything that meets these criteria.  

2a). Any predictive analytics software such as used in but not only,
Blackboard, Xray and JISC supported Civitas.
2b) if so, which ones?
2c) what date this analytics processing began for predictive purposes?

Answer:

We are not currently using any predictive analytics software.

3. If the answer to Q1a or Q2a is yes, please provide a copy of any
contract terms on using the data by the provider company including 
a) the data items feedling analytics, any profiling, and/or used in
prediction
b) what the prediction purposes / aims are
c) training the software (such as AI and machine learning) by the
provider using the data provided via your organisation.

Answer:

N/A

4. Whether the University is using its own student or staff population
data for machine learning for purposes not included in 1-3 above? (ie
but not only, within the university computing department for any project
or with another third-party)

Answer: 

No

5. From which time periods were the student or staff data collected
which are processed in any of the above (ie not only, retrospective
student data from the last ten years / only current intake which began
in autumn term 2018)?

Answer:

N/A

6. How many people/user accounts have access to the whole population
student data in any of the above in this calendar year?

Answer:

N/A

If this information does not address your requirements under the Freedom
of Information Act or you wish to complain about any aspect of the
handling of this request, then you should contact the undersigned in the
first instance. Should you remain dissatisfied, then you may apply for an
internal review by contacting the Director of Marketing and Communications
at Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane, Oxford OX3
OBP (email: [1][email address] ).  Your request for internal
review should be submitted to us within 40 working days of receipt by you
of this response. 

During the independent review the handling of your information request
will be reassessed by staff who were not involved in providing you with
this response. If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your
request or complaint, you have a right to appeal to the Information
Commissioner at The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. Further contact information and
details of the role and powers of the Information Commissioner can be
found on the Commissioner's website: [2]http://www.ico.org.uk/ 

Please note that the Information Commissioner is unlikely to investigate
your case until the University’s internal review process has been
completed.

Yours sincerely

Vanna Leathart

--
Vanna Leathart
University Records Manager
IT Services
Oxford Brookes University
Tel: +44 (0)1865 484046
Please note my normal working days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

References

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1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.ico.gov.uk/