Since the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has come into force, universities like many other non-profit institutions have been confronted with severe limitations to gather the data they need to improve what they do – in our case teach.
The problem is not that the European and national legislation forbids it, but that in-house lawyers tend to be overcautious and restrictive in the formulation of the goals of data gathering – and you can’t use them for anything you haven´t declared at the outset.
Now the Student Analytics specialist at VU has produced a Code of Practice (in Dutch, English version online soon) of Student Analytics – properly endorsed by the VU leadership – which gives a much broader definition of the purposes for which the data may be used: basically everything which helps to improve our education. A very laudable initiative. VU has also produce a translation of the Code of Practice into English so that other universities can profit from it as well and will put on their website shortly.