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Audrey Watters, Education Writer, to Speak at Columbia Oct. 16

Home > News & Updates > Audrey Watters, Education Writer, to Speak at Columbia Oct. 16

audreywatters_web.jpgAudrey Watters, a leading freelance writer in the education field and author of the blog Hack Education, will speak at Columbia University on Wednesday, October 16 at 3:00PM in 203 Butler Library. The event is free and open to members of the Columbia community with a valid University ID.

Watters' talk, “(Student) Data is the New Oil: MOOCs, Metaphor, and Money,” will examine "student data as the new oil" — the metaphor and the money behind education data and learning analytics as seen in MOOCs and other education technologies.

Education technology entrepreneurs frequently boast about the great insights about learning they are able to glean, thanks to the "unprecedented amounts" of data they're collecting from their users. Every keystroke. Every click. Every pause and rewind in a video lecture. Every homework submission. Every forum post. The promise of all the data gathering and data mining: better teaching and learning through technology. And perhaps we will see education transformed. But the claims about "big data" and education echo those made by the tech industry in general, and there is incredible investor interest in this story -- in funding data science oriented startups. This presentation will examine "student data as the new oil" -- the metaphor and the money behind education data and learning analytics as seen in MOOCs and other education technologies.

The talk is part of the Conversations About Online Learning series sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning CCNMTL). A video of the event will be publicly available on Columbia’s YouTube channel after the event.

Audrey Watters is a writer who's worked in the education field for the past 15 years: as a graduate student, college instructor, and program manager for an ed-tech non-profit. Although two chapters into her Comparative Literature dissertation, Audrey decided to abandon academia, and she now happily fulfills the one job recommended by a junior high aptitude test: freelance writer. Her work has appeared in Edutopia, MindShift, Fast Company, Inside Higher Ed, The School Library Journal, O'Reilly Radar, ReadWriteWeb, Campus Technology, and The Huffington Post, in addition to her own blog Hack Education. She is currently working on a book called Teaching Machines, due out in 2014.