That dashboard looks nice, but what does it mean? towards making meaning explicit in learning analytics design

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Conference Proceeding
ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, 2017, pp. 528 - 532
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© 2017 Association for Computing Machinery. All rights reserved. As learning analytics (LA) systems become more common, teachers and students are often required to not only make sense of the user interface (UI) elements of a system, but also to make meaning that is pedagogically appropriate to the learning context. However, we suggest that the dominant way of thinking about the relationship between representation and meaning results in an overemphasis on the UI, and that re-thinking this relationship is necessary to create systems that can facilitate deeper meaning making. We propose a conceptual view as a basis for discussion among the LA and HCI communities around a different way of thinking about meaning making, specifically that it should be explicit in the design process, provoking greater consideration of system level elements such as algorithms, data structures and information flow. We illustrate the application of the conceptualisation with two cases of LA design in the areas of Writing Analytics and Multi-modal Dashboards.
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