Week 25 – Activity 26: Thinking of the future

Timing: Less than 1 hour

  • Look at this Tumblr website that was set up to support reflection on learning analytics:

    Click the arrows at the top right of each picture to view the accompanying text. All the pictures on the site have been used to inspire reflection on analytics, using the tags #dream, #nightmare and #fairydust (for those who believe the promise offered by learning analytics is currently unrealistic). For example, an image of roughly brushed coloured stripes, ranging from pink to blue, was tagged #dream and prompted the reflection:

    • ‘All the separate elements come together to form a complete picture. Presenting them in this way makes it clear that they fall into three main groups, although it is also possible to pick out individual elements and their slight variations. The blue-and-white sky-like quality of the top of the picture suggests that the sky is the limit. Round the edge, the occasional gaps between the paint and the canvas edge serve as a reminder that learning analytics never reveal the whole picture.’

    An image of heavily pollarded trees was tagged #nightmare and prompted the reflection:

    • ‘For me, these trees represent the learners. They could be left to develop freely in all directions, but learning analytics constrain their choices and reduce them to basic outlines, each resembling the other. All their individuality is stripped away by the analytics, and they are set in an impoverished and deteriorating landscape.’
  • Choose one of the pictures on the Tumblr site, or another image of your own, and write a short reflection on learning analytics, which draws on what you have learned in this block and which is shaped by the image.
  • Post your reflection, together with the image or a brief description of the image, in the discussion forum and tag it as dream, nightmare or fairydust.
  • Look at other people’s contributions and comment on at least one of them.


Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 19.54.30

Wassily Kandinsky – Composition VIII, 1932. Link to post here


The chaos of this image reminds me of the different directions LA takes, i.e. from the students side, to the teachers, to course administrators and management. They each have their own sets of objectives and interests. There are obvious uses for LA, such as the overall aim of improving retention, which can be seen in the most standout sections, like the big circle in the top left. However, the rest is still finding it’s way and being debated.

Furthermore, LA is about individuals. Individuals do not fit nicely into boxes, as is seen here. There are some crossing points, like the tic-tac-toe box on the right, but general there is little to easy extract consistent patterns form.

Tag: nightmare

Due to the various angles LA could took. Although there is hope, and I do believe we will find a way of really improving learning/teaching, but the path is very messy and we must be ready for many challenges, dips, and turns, amongst successes.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s