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6 ways Big Data is changing higher education

Big Data is being used in colleges and universities to help optimize student performance and streamline their path toward a degree. But not everybody agrees with this controversial practice.

dataeCampus News has extensive coverage of how Big Data technology can help colleges and universities deliver instruction more effectively and enrich the student experience.

A recent infographic reveals how colleges and universities have begun using Big Data to aid educators in assessing and analyzing aptitude, thus providing a more personalized student learning environment.

What is Big Data and how are universities using it?

  • Think of Big Data like registering for a supermarket savings card: A computer tracks purchases in order to offer coupons and special offers based on shopping habits.
  • Campus technology can also track a student’s behavior including their test scores and when they access a class syllabus, and this information can be used to improve a student’s learning experience.
  • Several colleges in the south and southwest United States have started experimenting with technology to monitor student behavior. Arizona State University has an online course specifically designed to cater to a student’s learning level; a Facebook app which suggests friends to follow who have similar interests; and a program that tracks student ID cards to determine if someone is or isn’t connected on campus.
  • Rio Salado College uses a program to assess a student’s performance based on previous education and experience, and shares the results with professors.
  • University of Texas professors use technology to learn how students answer questions in real time to stimulate greater debate in classroom lectures.
  • Austin Peay State University uses an “robot advisor” application to analyze student profiles and suggest courses they believe they would excel in before students register for class.

Not everyone, however, is in favor of using Big Data technology to determine a student’s college experience.

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