The University of Melbourne notes media coverage today regarding its use of WiFi data in learning analytics projects.
The University monitors and analyses WiFi traffic as part of a project that’s examining how intensely and effectively the University's infrastructure is used.
Examples of this include lecture theatre, seminar room and study space usage rates, as well as patterns of peak foot-traffic around the campus. The latter is particularly important as we plan for the lengthy construction period of the Melbourne Metro Rail project, which will create disruption to access in and around the Parkville campus.
This project looks only at aggregate data, mostly at total building level. It does not focus on individual student behaviours and does not track the online activities of individual students.
On any given day, the University's community can exceed 50 000 people and being able to better understand how such large numbers of people interact with the University's infrastructure is vitally important.
The University provides free, fast and widely accessible WiFi access for students and staff but does not collect any information about online behaviours, such as monitoring of websites visited.
The University has clearly articulated terms and conditions for using its WiFi that all users are required to accept before full access is provided. The users of our system are required to identify themselves so we know they are entitled to use this service.
Media: the above statement can be attributed to Professor Richard James, Acting Provost.