The explosion of activity around massively open online courses (MOOCS) in 2012 sparked lively discussion about how postsecondary education might best be conveyed and measured. MOOCs also raised new questions about how data describing instructional interactions might ethically be studied and shared in the service of higher education improvement.

In 2014 faculty from Stanford and MIT convened a peer assembly at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA, to articulate first principles for ethical practice in this domain. The result was the Asilomar Convention for Learning Research in Higher Education.

In 2016 Stanford’s Center for Advanced Research through Online Learning and Ithaka S+R jointly organized a second assembly at Asilomar. The 2016 convening was purposed with building a general framework for iterating policy and best practices for the governance of student data as the digital revolution in higher education continues to unfold.