eCampus News has extensive coverage of cybersecurity and Big Data issues. Here’s a rundown of five of the most important developments.
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.
At a conference in October devoted to exploring the perks of Big Data in higher education, the event’s keynote speaker had a surprisingly contrarian take on the subject. “Big Data is bull—,” Harper Reed, the chief technology officer of President Obama’s 2012 campaign, said to an audience that included many campus IT officials hoping to learn more about Big Data’s benefits. Reed, who used the power of data to help Obama secure reelection, said the term is just a marketing tool meant to drive college and university IT officials toward expensive technologies for storing and analyzing data.
A university recently crunched all of the “Big Data” it had gathered on a course and made a surprising discovery. Out of the two professors who taught the course, one had significantly lower performing students. But this was a professor who had won several teaching awards and was well-respected by campus leaders. What was going on here, the researchers wondered as they sifted through all of the data points at their disposal.
The use of Big Data could unlock as much as $5 trillion in economic value a year, and it’s falling on colleges and universities to ensure such a boon happens. Higher education institutions in recent years have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in data research and tools. Some universities are putting up this money themselves, while others are relying on government and organization grants.