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

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, University of Bristol should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear University of Bristol,

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

University of Bristol FOI mailbox, University of Bristol

Thank you for your e-mail.  The University will endeavour to respond to
your request under the Freedom of Information Act within 20 working days.
 However, we are currently experiencing a delay in providing responses.

We are currently short staffed and have a significant backlog
of requests which we are working through as quickly as we can.  This means
that some responses may be delayed beyond the statutory 20 days.  We
apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause. We have contacted the
Information Commissioner’s Office to explain the situation.

 

We may need to ask you certain questions to clarify your request to ensure
we fully understand what information is being requested. If so, the 20
working day deadline will be calculated once we have received such
clarification. 

 

The University's A-Z index can help in locating information that is
publicly available on the University's
website: [1]http://www.bristol.ac.uk/index/

 

Our Publication Scheme is available
at: [2]http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/s...

 

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) annually publish certain
data about students and higher education, and also have a bespoke data
request service: [3]https://www.hesa.ac.uk/

 

For further information about the University's FOI procedure, please
see: [4]http://www.bristol.ac.uk/secretary/foi/

References

Visible links
1. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/index/
2. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/s...
3. https://www.hesa.ac.uk/
4. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/secretary/foi/

University of Bristol FOI mailbox, University of Bristol

Dear Jen,

 

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act. Please accept my apologies for our delay in responding;
we are currently experiencing high volumes of information requests. The
Information Commissioner's Office is aware.

 

In order to provide the most accurate response, can you please define
'data analytics'. Most, if not all, of our systems will have reporting
capability therefore, in the everyday meaning of the word, will analyse
information.

 

Please note that in the spirit of openness within which the University of
Bristol operates, we are currently considering applying an exemption under
s.43 of the Act to your third question.

 

If we do not hear back from you within 7 days then we will close the
request.

 

We look forward to being able to provide you with a response.

 

Kind Regards,

 

Freedom of Information Team

University of Bristol

To: SecOInformation Governance ([University of Bristol request email])
From: Jen Persson ([FOI #535666 email])
Title: Freedom of Information request - Student and staff data: use of
data analytics and machine learning
Sent: 28/11/2018 09:55

Dear University of Bristol,

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

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Dear University of Bristol FOI mailbox,

Re rqeuest Sent: 28/11/2018 09:55
I am making a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). You asked for clarifications:

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

Altryx, Blackboard, Brightspace, Business Intelligence/Open Text, Civitas, Google Analytics, Google Data Studio, Heidi Plus, IBM, JISC, MATLAB, Minitab, Ms Excel, MSSQL Stack, Cognos, Oracle SIA / BIE, Panopto, Piwik, Power BI, Pyramid, QlikView, SAP Business Object / Business Warehouse, SEATS, SQL Data warehouse, SSRS, Starfish, Stata, Stream / SolutionPath, Tableau, Tribal, and USW.

1a). Whether you are using any of those or similar 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). Separately, whether you are using 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 -- PLEASE NOTE THAT s43 exemption cannot apply to the whole document but only the commercially sensitive parts ie: can apply to the costs, but should show which personal data are used by the systems --
a) the data items transfered to the system provider
b) the data items used by the university in the system (if different from a)
c) training the software (such as AI and machine learning) by the provider using the data provided via your organisation.

4. Whether the University or third-party company is using its own student or staff population data for trainingor improving the products 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

University of Bristol FOI mailbox, University of Bristol

Thank you for your e-mail.  The University will endeavour to respond to
your request under the Freedom of Information Act within 20 working days.

However, we are currently receiving a high volume of requests, and we
would be grateful if you could bear with us if, on occasion, we are unable
to respond within the statutory time-frame. We apologise for any
inconvenience that this may cause.

We may need to ask you certain questions to clarify your request to ensure
we fully understand what information is being requested. If so, the 20
working day deadline will be calculated once we have received such
clarification. 

 

The University's A-Z index can help in locating information that is
publicly available on the University's
website: [1]http://www.bristol.ac.uk/index/

 

Our Publication Scheme is available
at: [2]http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/s...

 

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) annually publish certain
data about students and higher education, and also have a bespoke data
request service: [3]https://www.hesa.ac.uk/

 

For further information about the University's FOI procedure, please
see: [4]http://www.bristol.ac.uk/secretary/foi/

References

Visible links
1. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/index/
2. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/s...
3. https://www.hesa.ac.uk/
4. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/secretary/foi/

University of Bristol FOI mailbox, University of Bristol

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

Thank you for your request.

 

We just require clarification on the first question; does this refer to
analytics tools that the providers supply (e.g. Blackboard) or use of data
generated by these systems (e.g. Panopto which is a media capture and
media-hosting service)?

 

Kind Regards,

 

Freedom of Information Team

University of Bristol

To: SecOInformation Governance
([University of Bristol request email])
From: Jen Persson ([FOI #535666 email])
Title: Re: Freedom of Information request - Student and staff data:
use of data analytics and machine learning
E-mail title: Re: Freedom of Information request - Student and staff data:
use of data analytics and machine learning (Id nr.: 120125)
Sent: 03/07/2019 11:49

Dear University of Bristol FOI mailbox,

Re rqeuest Sent: 28/11/2018 09:55
I am making a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
You asked for clarifications:

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

Altryx, Blackboard, Brightspace, Business Intelligence/Open Text, Civitas,
Google Analytics, Google Data Studio, Heidi Plus, IBM, JISC, MATLAB,
Minitab, Ms Excel, MSSQL Stack, Cognos, Oracle SIA / BIE, Panopto, Piwik,
Power BI, Pyramid, QlikView, SAP Business Object / Business Warehouse,
SEATS, SQL Data warehouse, SSRS, Starfish, Stata, Stream / SolutionPath,
Tableau, Tribal, and USW.

1a). Whether you are using any of those or similar 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). Separately, whether you are using 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 --
PLEASE NOTE THAT s43 exemption cannot apply to the whole document but only
the commercially sensitive parts ie: can apply to the costs, but should
show which personal data are used by the systems --
a) the data items transfered to the system provider
b) the data items used by the university in the system (if different from
a)
c) training the software (such as AI and machine learning) by the provider
using the data provided via your organisation.

4. Whether the University or third-party company is using its own student
or staff population data for trainingor improving the products 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

show quoted sections

Dear University of Bristol FOI mailbox,

Please consider where, the university collects personal data about students and staff, and then processes that data using software since 2012. Not a commercial tool that students use independently, unless the university can then process data analytics from the students personal data the system captures.

We trust your best judgement and look forward to receiveing the requested information including the privacy policy(ies) that students are given at any point(s) as was at the time of this request (November 2018).

Sincerely,
Jen Persson