8 ways wearables are influencing higher ed’s data use

data analytics

5. Build a data sandbox and let researchers access it.

“By collecting data from Echo360, I was able to marry it with data from the SIS and data coming from our LMS. I looked at it all together,” Samson said. “I discovered there are certain things students do during class to indicate the likelihood of success. The hard part is coupling these data together–all have different sources and glitches, and then you have to make a data sandbox. I encourage universities to think about ways to take data, collect it from the LMS and SIS, put it all in one place, make a sandbox, and understand how learning and grades are related to student behaviors.”

Samson is still sorting through data, but his hypothesis is that “those students who saw the data … thought about changing their behavior. When you have data like this, you can do an intervention like this in Week 3, and see what happens in Weeks 4, 5 and 6.”


6. Data will sometimes prove your beliefs false.

“The first thing we’ve had to do is protect against data denial by a massive transparency and democratization of data,” Kellen said. “Data will tell you things, and oftentimes it will tell you that your cherished belief is not true. It takes time for administrators to realize that, sometimes.”

Opening up data access lets people who do access it come to their own conclusions about it, and “that’s been extremely helpful in building the analysis community in a very democratizing way,” he said.


7. The Fitbit analogy is only partially complete.

“Data is usually between the student and faculty,” Singer said. “Systems today aren’t connected, and that’s a problem, and that’s got to change because higher ed will really benefit from it.”

Continuing with the Fitbit analogy, if someone wears a device and isn’t hitting 10,000 steps a day, it might be a good idea to have some form of intervention available to that person to help them meet their goal. The same is true for higher ed, Singer said.

“None of these systems are in place yet, but that’s where it’s going–the system should hook into an advisory system, should include real-time information, and we also need to know what type of student the student is.”


8. IT and education are no longer two separate silos.

“Technology is absolutely critical to support the pedagogical process,” Fred said. “The biggest programs are when the IT and academic departments aren’t unified. Make sure those two are together.”

Laura Ascione