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

The request was partially successful.

Dear University of Kent,

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

Foi, University of Kent

Dear Ms Persson,

 

Thank you for your information request. We will respond within 20 working
days.

 

Kind regards

Laura

 

Laura Withers

Information Compliance Officer

 

University of Kent

[1][University of Kent request email]

[2]www.kent.ac.uk/infocompliance/

 

 

show quoted sections

Foi, University of Kent

Dear Ms Persson,

 

Thank you for your information request, received on 28/11/2018.  Please
find our response as follows:

 

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

Yes.

 

b) if so, which ones?

IBM Cognos, MATLAB, Google analytics, Minitab and stata.

 

c) what date this data analytics processing began?

Unknown, more than five years.

 

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

In current use.

 

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

No.

 

b) if so, which ones?

Not applicable.

 

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

Not applicable.

 

 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 feeding 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.

 

This information is withheld under Section 43(2) Commercial interests.

 

The Section 43 exemptions are qualified exemptions, subject to the public
interest test.

 

There is a public interest in contracts that the University has negotiated
to ensure effective spending of public money.  Balanced against this is
the commercial detriment caused by disclosing software contract terms that
may be specific to the University’s needs and would prejudice or harm the
commercial interests of the University in subsequent negotiations with
third parties. It is in the public interest that the University functions
competitively.

 

The result of the public interest test is to withhold this information.

 

Some contractual terms and conditions may be publicly available on the
software companies’ websites. This would be withheld under Section 21
(reasonably accessible) of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

 

 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)?

Not applicable.

 

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

Not applicable.

 

 

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been
handled, you can request an internal review within 40 days of the date of
this email by writing to: Information Compliance Team, Darwin College,
University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NZ or via email to: [1][University of Kent request email]

 

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint,
you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at: Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF. Telephone: 0303 123 1113 Website: [2]www.ico.org.uk.

 

There is no charge for making an appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Laura Withers

Information Compliance Officer

 

University of Kent

[3][University of Kent request email]

[4]www.kent.ac.uk/infocompliance/

References

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