Improving processes by using activity data

ALT-C 2011 Pre-Conference Workshop

Please note that this pre-conference workshop is also open to non-delegates.

Who should attend?

This pre-conference workshop will be of interest to ALT-C delegates and to other Further & Higher Education managers, practitioners, administrators and developers who share an interest in maximising the value of systems and services, not least with a view to enhancing the student experience and student success. The dialogue will benefit the varied input of managers, technologists and teachers.


Universities and colleges are collecting large amounts of activity data in log files.  Whenever someone logs into any system, when they use the virtual learning environment, search the library catalogue, download a resource, borrow a book – all these events may be captured.  This information can be used to

  • Understand what your users are doing,
  • Improve the services that you provide, and
  • Support users to work more effectively.

Examples of using activity data include recommender systems (such as Amazon’s ‘people who bought this also bought that’) and diagnostic tools to identify students at risk at an early stage.

However, care has to be taken in using activity data, as there are a number of analytical, legal and technical issues that need to be considered.

The workshop will draw on the work of the 2011 JISC Activity Data programme, as well on complementary work in the JISC Business Intelligence and in North America. The workshop leaders (Tom Franklin, Helen Harrop, David Kay and Mark van Harmelen) have undertaken the JISC Activity Data programme synthesis as well as prior work in this space (


The aims of the workshop are to

  • Enable you to identify the potential benefits of making use of the activity data that is already being collected at your institution (or could easily be collected);
  • Understand the legal issues such as data protection and privacy that govern what you are allowed to do with the data;
  • Provide examples that can be used to build a case within your institution.


1245 – Buffet lunch on arrival

1315 - Introduction

  • What is activity data?
  • What can it be used for?
  • What are the benefits of using activity data?
  • What challenges does it raise?

1345 - Discussion of potential uses - consider use cases that may spark your own ideas

1415 - Legal issues – presentation and discussion of key issues and how they can be addressed

1445 - Refreshment break

1500 - Select one group activity from

  • Building a business case
  • How can you build a case to make use of activity data in your institution?
  • Consideration of examples from the 2011 JISC Activity Data programme

OR Working with activity data

  • Analyse some exemplar activity data and identify the potential value and challenges of the data

1545 – Feedback & Conclusions

1615 - Close

The hashtag for this event is #jiscad.

Room 8.62 EC Stoner Building, University of Leeds
05-09-2011 12:45 to 16:15

Event Type: