Image of a infinity sign made up of small pictures of online platforms like email.

What’s done is data: Creating datafied feedback loops to inform Creative Industry pedagogy.

We interact with digital devices everyday. These devices continue to record a growing variety of actions, at a higher velocity than ever, and in ever increasing volumes. There is a growing lake of data about the “how, what, when, and where” of our lives. And this leads to growing potential to explore the “why”.

Image of skelton looking into an artistic representation of data.
Every action we make with and through a digital device leaves behind a data trail, even if we can’t see it. Image from, Pxfuel terms of use.

Feedback loops are one way that our actions-as-data are reflected back to us. Social media companies, for example, are expert at using data to generate feedback loops. These loops are used for a range of things like platform development and tailoring user content. Another example is smart phones, which now produce feedback loops about your device usage through functions like screen reports, and apps to limit your use of certain platforms. In most cases, though, the user is the consumer and not the producer of the feedback loop.

In her 2016 book, Cathy O’Neil wrote:

Big Data processes codify the past. They do not invent the future. Doing that requires moral imagination. And that’s something only humans can provide.

If data codifies the past, and humans invent the future, then feedback loops are the translators – making our datafied actions human readable again. This agency through feedback loops is a concept being explored by the #DataCreativities collaboration. #DataCreativities is a research team formed in June 2020 to explore the fast-paced shift to making, living and learning in the creative industries during times of isolation. We have a particular interest at looking at the data created in the creative industries, and looping this back into creative industry education. Our goal: to view the loop, and where needed break the loop, to invent future creative industry pedagogies.

Image of a infinity sign made up of small pictures of online platforms like email.
Feedback loops can be generated to reflect our digital actions back to us. Image from, Pixabay licence

In December 2020, #DataCreativities will be hosting a workshop focused on exploring the data we unwittingly create through digital devices, how we can create our own feedback loops, and the implications of this for the Scholarship of Technology Enhanced Learning. The team come from a variety of disciplines, with a range of online teaching experiences, and a spectrum of data science skills. We use this diversity to create a workshop that provides you with a practical, user friendly set of tools which you can apply to your own research led teaching practices.

To find out more about the workshop and how to register, visit: Note: while the live workshop is open to University of Melbourne staff only, stay tuned for workshop outputs which will be shared after the event.