Big data–you’ve got it, now what?

The adoption of big data in higher education has been relatively slow due, in part, to privacy concerns. The sheer volume of information can also be overwhelming. Institutions may not know how to best harness and make sense of such large amounts of data.

But the big data trend is just beginning. A 2016 Forbes article stated that institutions are increasingly becoming aware of how useful and impactful big data can be for everything from assessment to accreditation. And, even more important, quality tools now exist to help institutions gather, store, and analyze this data so it can be used to improve student success.

Higher education leaders should be proactive about both recognizing the potential of harnessing big data and pursuing the right tools, programs, and people to manage it. Here are some things they should consider.…Read More

Is Big Data ‘bull****’?

The man who headed up the tech side of President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign took issue with higher ed’s emphasis on Big Data

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IT officials have been skeptical of Big Data investment.

Harper Reed, who recently launched a mobile technology startup in Chicago after serving as chief technology officer for Obama’s 2012 campaign, said Oct. 29 at the State University of New York’s (SUNY) “Building a Smarter University” conference that universities’ focus on collecting and analyzing reams of data is “bulls***.”

Reed, according to a media report, denounced the term “Big Data” as a marketing tool meant to drive college and university IT officials toward expensive servers, and other technologies meant to store and analyze data.

It’s hardly the first time Harper has offered a harsh assessment of the current use and interest in Big Data.…Read More

Innovation corner: Big Data for colleges large and small

Many colleges and universities are just beginning to understand how to leverage vast amounts of data.

big-data-skillsWhile the definition of Big Data remains in flux among campus technologists, the growing importance of tools that help schools distill mountains of information is an emerging focal point for college IT officials.

Any company or organization that can help a campus — no matter its size — make sense of data and help improve the learning experience will prove more than a little valuable in higher education.

The ways in which data usage and distillation is changing basic college campus operations are numerous and continuing to grow.…Read More

University of Rochester to spend $50 million on ‘big data’ research

The University of Rochester is committing $50 million, in addition to more than $50 million it has spent in recent years, to expand its work in the burgeoning field of data science, Syracuse.com reports.

University of Rochester President Joel Seligman said the commitment will include the creation of an Institute for Data Science, construction of a 50,000-square-foot building to house it, and as many as 20 new faculty members with expertise in the field.

Seligman made the announcement as part of his opening remarks at the Rochester Big Data Forum 2013, which drew researchers in data science from around the nation.…Read More

Is Big Data too ‘messy’ for higher education?

The massive collection of data in higher education will never produce a single, infallible formula for success, no matter how much students clamor for such a miracle algorithm.

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An EDUCAUSE panelist cautioned against “over promising” about Big Data’s potential.

That, along with other harsh realities of data collection and analysis on college campuses, was discussed during the “Allure of Big Data” session at the EDUCAUSE 2013 conference in Anaheim, Calif., where campus technologists from across the world gathered to discuss trends in educational technology.

A panel of Big Data experts expressed concern about the sky-high expectations for analytics in higher education, as some have pointed to Big Data as a transformational way of understanding teaching and learning.

Big Data may be transformational, the panelists said, but expecting that transformation to be immediate is unfair to campus technologists charged with compiling the mass amounts of information that can help steer students toward a degree.…Read More

Braving the big data maze

Everyone’s talking about big data – structured and unstructured information that can be pulled together and shared to help organisations gain better insights and make more informed business decisions, CIO Magazine reports.

From sharing research and course information to analysing online habits of hundreds of thousands of students, Big data techniques have the potential to transform the way the education sector processes and analyses information from many sources.

IT leaders – predominantly from the higher education and research sector – gathered in Sydney recently to discuss the challenges around making sense of large amounts of data across their organisations to improve insights and create better products and services. The event was sponsored by Amcom and EMC.…Read More