Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Big Data on Campus

This article discusses the use of data analytics across universities and colleges in order student rates of success both in and out of the class room.  Due to the fact many believe this is a self-inflicted wound, strong federal and state pressures have been placed on these schools to improve their lacking graduation and retention rates.  Analytics tools and softwares have been developed by over dozens of schools to help students make decisions, based on collected data, that will positively affect their in-school experience and performances.

After reading this article, I found this implementation of data collection and analysis to be extremely useful for both schools and students, but I also believe there are various obstacles.  There is proof these algorithms have improved students' performances, as they have deduced several conclusions and correlations, such as when a student takes a class with friends or makes friends in their class they tend to do better.  The proof and explanation of the data conclusions to the students is what will encourage them to use the tools and apply themselves further.  I think if most of the data is reported to the students in a visual manner, which is how Purdue University's Forecast software presents their results, the students could be really engaged.  Judging from experience, I know many students tend to blow off notifications or emails that come from their school, so I think one of the most difficult aspects of this idea will be increasing student engagement.  Hopefully, these softwares will motivate the students to put forth more effort into their education and involvement in school.  If schools could perfect this system it would ultimately save them and the student money because more students would not only stay in school, but would also graduate on time.

The amount of data the schools need to collect to continuously use and improve these softwares is immense.  The use of Big Data always correlates with ethical difficulties due to the security vulnerabilities and privacy concerns.  I believe if schools begin depending on these algorithms, they could run into many expensive problems.  The schools would need to either hire people to be able to protect the data, or have a security system that is extremely protective because if parents are unsure of a system like this it could draw them away from the school.  Additionally, what will happen with the data following graduation and are parents to trust that the school is definitely using the data to better their child's experience?  These systems would definitely need to come with guidelines that specify how the data collected is used, secured and handled post graduation.  The article says "that 30 percent of higher education institutions worldwide will have adopted analytics strategies by 2018, " and I believe this will greatly improve education throughout the world, I just think it will take a could years of perfecting the systems and schools will have to be smart about advertising this to parents.

Resource: http://www.cio.com/article/3121250/education/big-data-on-campus.html

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  1. Taylor’s article Big Data on Campus was very intriguing to me because it is extremely relevant to our lives at this point in time. As I have noted throughout various articles, the implementation of Big Data is widely beneficial for the majority of the parties involved. In regards to the use of data analytics on universities and college campuses, Big Data could detect patterns within the students who impact the lacking graduation rates and retention rates, like Taylor said. In addition to this, in an article I found also titled “Big Data on Campus”, Marc Parry argues that Big Data software can determine which classes a particular student should take based on his/her interests and skill levels and furthermore predict how well that student will succeed in that class. This notion is extremely advantageous to both the student and the university involved. While nothing is guaranteed, it would be useful for a student to know which classes he/she is likely to succeed in, which directly correlates with a university’s success rates.
    However, in agreement with Taylor, any use of data analytics raises security and privacy risks. In the case of Big Data on college campuses, the data collected about the student would need to be stored and protected to a higher degree to ensure that a student’s grades and personal information does not get released to the wrong person. However, with this being said, I believe the use of data analytics on a college campus will create more positive impacts than negative.

  2. Taylor’s article was well written and focused on the main points of the article, which was student data collection and analysis by the college. There is a multitude of Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies today who use Big Data to improve their products and better serve their customers. So, colleges and universities should take advantage of that platform and implement data collection strategies.

    Colleges and universities should collect student data and how they perform in classes, since this can be used to help them build an individual performance plan that will help the student excel. I agree with how Taylor said the data should be reported in a visual manner. I believe if the data was shown in a visual manner, it will help motivate the student more to perform better since they can easily look at the visualizations and focus on what’s working and what’s not working for them.

    Also, Taylor mentioned how security will be an issue with such a mass amount of data. This is true, since data is precious, especially student’s personal and private data, which companies can use towards building marketing strategies for products/services focused on college students. If the schools find a way to efficiently protect and manager the accumulated data, then I see a huge potential for colleges across the nation to implement this strategy. By using Big Data to analyze a student’s performance and engagement levels in class will help both the school and student save money. Students will also have a personalized “roadmap” of where they should be at a certain time, rather than following the standard “roadmap” of every single business major or liberal arts major. There will be a lot of trial and error, since this system is new, but as time goes it will be much more developed than ever before.


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