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Taming “Big Data” on Campus

Taming “Big Data” on Campus

Stephen G. Pelletier is a freelance writer and editor who writes regularly on higher education. Today’s blog is an excerpt from his article “Taming ‘Big Data’: Using Data Analytics for Student Success and Institutional Intelligence,” which first appeared in the special Tech Issue of Trusteeship.

While work with “big data” is still in its infancy, higher education is becoming more sophisticated in using data analytics both to help students succeed academically and to help the institution make better strategic decisions and improve its operations. In an era when most colleges and universities need every advantage they can muster, leveraging “big data” and the insights it offers may give an institution and its students a competitive edge.

Improving Students’ Success:

Researchers at Purdue University developed Course Signals, a software program that combines student data in ways that enable instructors to monitor student performance and predict students’ success in a course—and, when necessary, step in to help students improve their performance. Early intervention helps retain students in courses and can boost their performance by as much as a full letter grade, researchers there have found.

Improving Institutional Operations:

Miami University of Ohio is developing a business intelligence initiative that supports its recent adoption of responsibility-centered management. Focused largely on budgeting questions, the work includes models that help the university better understand sources of revenue by division and department, as well as trends in student enrollment and retention.

Read the full article for more examples of on-campus examples of data analytics in action as well as a cautions and guidelines for ensure data privacy and security.

We invite you to read this special digital-only issue of Trusteeship on your iPad! Through AGB's complimentary app, you can read the full stories and explore special features. The issue is also available online. AGB is grateful to Sonic Foundry, sole sponsor of this special issue.
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