The biggest Big Data developments in higher education

Colleges and universities, despite persistent skepticism in some circles, are looking toward Big Data to improve education, reduce costs, bolster efficiency, increase degree completion, and drive critical decisions on campus.

educationThere’s no arguing that data analytics has seized the attention of administrators, technologists, and educators alike, as reflected in massive data-related investments seen over the past year.

Big Data, it seems, is here to stay in higher education, even if it’s actually small or medium-sized data.

eCampus News assistant editor Jake New, who recently conducted exhaustive research into how universities are leveraging data, is going to be available for an hour-long Twitter chat from 7-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

New, author of eCampus News’ popular “Higher education’s Big (Data) Bang” series, will field myriad questions from our readers about how data analytics is changing higher education, and why so many campuses have put trust — and resources — in the promise of Big Data.

Be sure to join New, who can be found on Twitter @eCN_Jake. Don’t forget to use the Twitter hash tag #eCNBigData.

Here’s a rundown of five of the most important Big Data developments, as covered on eCampus News.

1. The power of people in Big Data

For all the focus on the power of data at the 2014 White House Education Datapalooza, there seemed to be just as much talk about people. “Data doesn’t do anything,” said Nick Sinai, the deputy chief technology officer at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “Data is only worth something if you apply it.”

2. Universities brace for another year of security breaches

Records compromised by data breaches in higher education were already at a near all-time high that year, with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse reporting more than 2 million compromised. In 2013, the number was more than 3 million. Ten percent of all data breaches in the United States were in the education sector. As the Ponemon Institute and Symantec estimate the cost of education data at $142 per record, that’s a potential cost exceeding $425 million.