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

Jen Persson made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to University of Leeds 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 rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear University of Leeds,

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

Tracey Crombie,

Dear Ms Persson

I can confirm receipt of the request below, dated 28 November 2018. 

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.  As such, you should expect to hear from the University in response by 28 December 2018, if, in the meantime, you have any queries about the request, please don’t hesitate to contact Jenny Foggin ([email address]).   

Kind regards

Tracey Crombie
PA to the Legal Adviser
University of Leeds
LS2 9JT
Tel:  0113 343 4078 (NB 8am-4pm)
Fax:  0113 343 3925

This communication is intended solely for the addressee, is strictly confidential and may also be legally privileged.  If you are not the addressee please do not read, print, re-transmit, store or act in reliance on it or any attachments.  Instead, please contact Tracey Crombie on the above telephone number.

Any liability (in negligence or otherwise) arising from any third party acting, or refraining from acting, on any information contained in this email is excluded.

It is the responsibility of the receiver of this email to ensure that any onward transmission or use of this email (including attachments) will not adversely affect their systems or data contained on their systems.  Receivers are advised to carry out virus checks.  The University of Leeds accepts no responsibility with regard to the communication or other use of this email.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Tracey Crombie,

Dear Ms Persson

 

Further to your Freedom of Information request, please see below:-

 

1a). Whether you are using any data analytics software at all:

 

Yes, for descriptive/inferential statistics and dashboarding.  Our
response to this request deals specifically with the use of data
visualisation and analytics software in relation to student/staff data.

 

1b) if so, which ones?

 

Qlikview

Heidi Plus (HESA)

BlackBoard Analytics for Learn

 

1c) what date this data analytics processing began?

 

Qlikview - software entered use in 2010

Heidi Plus (HESA) - software entered use in 2016

BlackBoard Analytics for Learn - 30 November 2017

 

1d) indicate whether in the past and ended, or still in current use

 

Still in use

 

2a). Any predictive analytics software such as used in but not only,
Blackboard, Xray and JISC supported Civitas.

 

No, all uses are descriptive and diagnostic. 

 

2b) if so, which ones?

 

n/a

 

2c) what date this analytics processing began for predictive purposes?

 

n/a

 

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.

 

In relation to the contract terms, we need more time to consider the
public interest in releasing that information, as provided for in section
10 of the FOI Act.  We anticipate this should require no more than 20
working days, however, please note that the University is closed from 24
December to 2 January.

 

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)

 

Not that we are aware of

 

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)?

 

Aggregate statistics on the student and staff populations are used in
analysis for the previous 10 years, on the applicant population for the
previous 5 years

 

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

 

Qlikview - for the purposes of extracting and aggregating data used to
present dashboards to other users, 10 users within the Management
Information Team have access to process the raw data (obtained from the
student record system) 

Heidi Plus (HESA) - Heidi Plus does not give access to detailed student
data; 38 members of staff have 'gold' level access and have undergone
associated Data Protection training

BlackBoard Analytics for Learn - 4 accounts

 

I hope this is helpful in resolving your query. If you have any questions
about this email, however, please don't hesitate to contact me.

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision,
you should write to or email directly Mr D Wardle, Deputy Secretary, The
University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT ([email address]). You should
do so within 40 working days of receiving the University’s response to
your request. Further information about how the University manages Freedom
of Information requests and about our complaints procedure is also
available on our website (www.leeds.ac.uk).

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision.  Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted the review/complaints procedure provided by the University.  The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at:  Information Commissioner’s
Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Best wishes,

 

 

Tracey Crombie
PA to the Legal Adviser
University of Leeds
LS2 9JT
Tel:  0113 343 4078 (NB 8am-4pm)
Fax:  0113 343 3925

This communication is intended solely for the addressee, is strictly
confidential and may also be legally privileged.  If you are not the
addressee please do not read, print, re-transmit, store or act in reliance
on it or any attachments.  Instead, please contact Tracey Crombie on the
above telephone number.

Any liability (in negligence or otherwise) arising from any third party
acting, or refraining from acting, on any information contained in this
email is excluded.

It is the responsibility of the receiver of this email to ensure that any
onward transmission or use of this email (including attachments) will not
adversely affect their systems or data contained on their systems. 
Receivers are advised to carry out virus checks.  The University of Leeds
accepts no responsibility with regard to the communication or other use of
this email.

 

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Tracey Crombie,

thank you for hyour reply to my FOI request of November 28, 2018.

You replied with a holding answer on one question, and I would like to ask if you are ready to respond. We are not asking for any confidentail data or commercially senstive data such as financail information, but the data sharing agreements, with relation to how student data are processed.

We believe that the balance of public interest is in favour in respect of the disclosure.

"In relation to the contract terms, we need more time to consider the public interest in releasing that information, as provided for in section 10 of the FOI Act. We anticipate this should require no more than 20 working days, however, please note that the University is closed from 24 December to 2 January."

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jen Persson

Tracey Crombie,

Dear Ms Persson,

Thank you for your e-mail. We have considered the position further and, with regret, we seek to apply section 43, the exemption for commercial interests.

We are restricted in this matter by the contractual terms for Analytics for Learn, which are bundled within a Master Agreement and Pricing Schedule contract that the University holds with BlackBoard Inc. This contract contains explicit confidentiality and nondisclosure terms preventing us from releasing publicly any aspects of the agreements. If the University were to breach these terms, it would severely affect its partnership with Blackboard, and would threaten the significant financial discounts received in negotiation with the company, which would ultimately cost the University very large sums of money. The University could be sued by BlackBoard for breach of contract, and issued with new contractual terms and pricing, which would lead to reputational damage, threaten other third party partnerships and would not therefore be in the public interest.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision, you should write to or email directly Mr D Wardle, Deputy Secretary, The University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT ([email address]). You should do so within 40 working days of receiving the University’s response to your request. Further information about how the University manages Freedom of Information requests and about our complaints procedure is also available on our website (www.leeds.ac.uk).

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision.  Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the review/complaints procedure provided by the University.  The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:  Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Best wishes,

Tracey Crombie
PA to the Legal Adviser
University of Leeds
LS2 9JT
Tel:  0113 343 4078 (NB 8am-4pm)
Fax:  0113 343 3925

This communication is intended solely for the addressee, is strictly confidential and may also be legally privileged.  If you are not the addressee please do not read, print, re-transmit, store or act in reliance on it or any attachments.  Instead, please contact Tracey Crombie on the above telephone number.

Any liability (in negligence or otherwise) arising from any third party acting, or refraining from acting, on any information contained in this email is excluded.

It is the responsibility of the receiver of this email to ensure that any onward transmission or use of this email (including attachments) will not adversely affect their systems or data contained on their systems.  Receivers are advised to carry out virus checks.  The University of Leeds accepts no responsibility with regard to the communication or other use of this email.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir