Everyone has heard about how companies are using and exploring analysis of big data to improve myriad operating functions. Now, academic institutions are joining the movement to understand the advantages of using big data applications to sort and analyze data for both educational and operational benefits. In the past, academic researchers relied on individuals with a technical background to analyze the large quantities of data generated within an institution. However, applications are now entering the market that offer user friendly interfaces, simple and complex search queries, and increased functionality. With an academic institution, data sets can have thousands or even millions of records to process that are generated from many sources such as classroom records, student records, and administrative records. What is one primary advantage of using big data applications? These applications provide the opportunity to quickly retrieve and analyze large amounts of data in real time across all departments, with increased efficiency from both a time and reporting standpoint.
So Who is Joining the Big Data Movement?
Several academic institutions such as Stanford University, MIT, and Harvard University are showing increased interest in the advantages and possibilities associated with the analysis of big data to improve student learning. Campus Technology, who is consistently searching for the newest technology to improve higher education student learning, has already begun using big data applications to improve or implement numerous concepts:
- Ability to recognize students’ preferences and needs that will allow analysts to create a custom reminder service.
- Ability to provide a student an up-to-date service that will send “academic health records” to their mobile device.
- Create an alert system that notifies faculty and advisers when a student needs intervention.
- Ability to improve student learning by implementing personalized automated learning objects to increase student interaction with their studies.
The goal for institutions using big data is to identify students’ preferences and learning styles to help them learn quicker and better. Ideas about automated teaching strategies to improve student learning are also being discussed at length.
MIT was recently selected to be the newest Intel Science and Technology Center for big data and they will be in charge of analyzing large amounts of data generated across various industries. In turn, MIT will be able to train and produce individuals who will be able to analyze and offer greater insight on how companies and institutions can fully leverage their big data.
What can Big Data do for Your Institution?
There are endless possibilities when big data comes into play. Big data is changing how individuals utilize their data. What was a mass cluster of unorganized, unstructured data and information can now be organized, sorted and reported on to improve institutional statistics and student learning. Institutions will be able to mold and tweak their results to their preference and then they will be able to make sense of all the data they have acquired. Some institutions are using big data to quickly seek out which students are in danger of dropping out and for what reason. Further analysis can then display which degrees these endangered students are associated with as well as which actions could be used to improve institutional retention rates and thus, student success.
Is Big Data the Future for Academic Institutions?
Do you think that all academic institutions will incorporate a big data application in the near future? How do you think it will be used? Leave your comments and opinions below.