Learning activity tasks within courses (including LTI activities) where data is collected for research purposes but no data that could allow a partner to identify a learner is collected.
This option is intended for behavioural research and is not to be used for embedded research surveys.
LTI activities may track learner_id.
No data that could allow a partner to identify a learner may be collected, regardless of linking to learner_id. This is because it is unclear, in the context of an embedded step, who is collecting the data, and to adequately enable the collection of informed consent.
Please note: no course step should be completely related to optional research. All steps must contain content relevant to the learning design, which a learner can satisfactorily ‘Mark as Complete’. For example, an alternative way to participate in a research task could be offered for those who do not wish to take part in the research itself.
The additional task linked to or embedded must...
- Be created by, hosted by and managed by the partner (or co-creator or affiliated researcher) on their own website or their account with a third party site.
- Be unambiguously branded by the partner (or Co-creator or affiliated researcher), featuring the names of all parties running the research in the title or header.
- Not be written or designed in a way that may confuse learners as to the party carrying out the research, or imply that the FutureLearn T&Cs will govern their participation in the research.
- Not collect data that could be used by a partner to identify a learner.
- Not be a research survey.
- Include information on the introduction page, in an information sheet, or within/linked to from the exercise step (if the task is embedded), stating:
- The purpose of the research in clear and unambiguous terms.
- What type of participants the research is looking to include. If the task is included as an exercise step, this should be all learners on the course.
- The nature of learner participation during the research (i.e. what they will be asked to do, and an estimated duration)
- What the data collected will be used for, with no catch-all provisions such as “other legitimate business interests”.
- That this is an independent research study, together with the name(s) of the party/parties carrying out the research.
- The names of all parties with whom the data will be shared.
- How research findings will be published or presented, at what level of granularity and to what audience, emphasising Learner anonymity and stating any explicit purposes the data will not be used for.
- The course (or courses) that the research relates to (unless embedded within an exercise step).
- That participation is optional and that learners may stop taking part at any time or may skip that part of the step.
- That participation has no impact on the learner’s progress in their FutureLearn course.
- A point of contact with the Partner for questions learner may have relating to the research.
In addition, it is the partner’s responsibility to ensure that each research task and the method of collecting, storing and handling data is in compliance with the relevant data protection laws that apply in their jurisdiction. Should the partner be required by their organisation/s to obtain ethical approval to conduct research, it is the partner’s responsibility to obtain adequate consent before research takes place and to adhere to it. It is the partner’s responsibility to provide any further information and include any steps required to gain adequate informed consent from learners.
In order to promote the task...
You (the partner) must provide a brief piece of copy to share with learners in order to link to or promote the above task. Example copy. This must contain at minimum:
- A brief description of the research topic and purpose in plain terms.
- A request for the learner’s optional participation in the research task.
- A brief description of the type of participants the research task is intended for (which should be all Learners on a course run where the task is embedded).
- A description of what learners will do during the task and an approximate duration.
- A brief description of how the data collected will be used (e.g. to inform the Partner’s work).
- The names of the organisation(s) running the research.
- A brief description of how the findings will be shared or published, emphasising learner anonymity as appropriate.
You must embed the exercise into the course step, or provide the URL in order to link to the task. FutureLearn will check the visible contents comply with our requirements.
- Note: FutureLearn respects the research of partners, however we may make suggestions to improve an exercise step task as it appears within our platform. This is especially the case where we feel an task will otherwise confuse Learners, not be relevant to learners or result in an experience that reflects upon FutureLearn negatively.
You must let FutureLearn know:
- How you wish to promote the task (linked to from a course step, embedded as an exercise step, sent as a course notice or targeted email – please see below for an explanation of these options).
- For emails: Who you wish to send the call for participation to. For example, all learners on a course run who have opted into receiving research emails from FutureLearn when they register on the FutureLearn website. At FutureLearn’s discretion, and where it does not potentially identify learners (without their consent), it is possible to send targeted emails to specific samples of learners on a course run, based on data we collect about their behaviours or attributes. Please allow at least 10 working days before you wish to send a survey if you want to explore sampling options.
- When you wish to send the email, on which step you wish to promote the task, or in which step the exercise is to be embedded.
- Note: FutureLearn may request alternative sampling, timing and promotion methods, according to our judgement of what is appropriate for Learners and our own research activities.
You must also confirm the following in writing:
- If you deem that you require ethical approval for your research or not.
- That the task is not collecting any data that could be used to identify a learner
- That the task and the method of collecting, storing and handling data is in compliance with the relevant data protection laws that apply in your jurisdiction.
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