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

University of Bolton did not have the information requested.

Dear University of Bolton,

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

Dear University of Bolton,
The response to my Freedom of Information request appears to have been delayed, and should have been returned by December 31, 2018.

Please can you let me know by when you expect to provide the requested information?

Many thanks.
Sincerely,

Jen Persson

Dear University of Bolton,

I am writing to request an internal review of University of Bolton's handling of my FOI request 'Student and staff data: use of data analytics and machine learning'.

This was made on November 28, 2018 and a reminder request sent in January. This is now long overdue the statutory response time.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

I would be grateful if you can review this lack of response, and provdie the requested information as soon as possible.

Many thanks.
Sincerely,

Jen Persson

O'Reilly, Patrick, University of Bolton

Dear Ms Persson
Thank you for your enquiry requesting information under Section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act'). Please find below the University's response to your enquiry below.

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:
University uses in-house reporting services to monitor the progress of individual students only. There is no wider analytics used
1b) if so, which ones?
No commercial products are used
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.
None
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)
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)?
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?
N/A

We trust this addresses your enquiry.
If you are unhappy with the way that the University has handled your request, you may ask for an internal review. You can do this by return email requesting an internal review.
If we are unable to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction, you have the right under Section 50 of the Act to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
First Contact Team
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
SK9 5AF
www.ico.org.uk<https://webmail.bolton.ac.uk/owa/[Univer... of Bolton request email]/www.ico.org.uk>
Full details of the complaints procedure can be found at: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/
Yours sincerely,
The University of Bolton
The University of Bolton
Deane Road
Bolton
BL3 5AB
Tel: +44 1204 900600
Fax: +44 1204 903088

show quoted sections

Dear Patrick O'Reilly, FOI University of Bolton,
Thank you for the response. Please can I ask that you check the accuracy of answer given to question 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)"
"No."

Please could you review and confirm the reply sent on April 15, with regards to the machine learning in the university Chatbot:
https://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/personalised...

With reference to: http://www.aftabhussain.com/adaptive_emp...
"Student Datasets are made up of the College's core student dataset (Tribal EBS), the College's Learner Journey Management System and the student profile. At the present moment in time the ILT Team's adaptive learning project queries and analyses the data on its current student cohort. As the project progresses colleagues across Bolton College will data mine a much larger historical dataset which will deliver further improvements to our adaptive services."

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jen Persson

O'Reilly, Patrick, University of Bolton

Dear Ms Persson
I confirm that we are not using machine learning around staff or student data at the University of Bolton.

The links you refer to relating to the chatbot are for Bolton College, which whilst a member of the Univesity of Bolton group, is a separated legal entity to the University with its own governance etc.

I hope this helps you
Best wishes
Patrick

Sent from my iPhone

show quoted sections