Data and Decision-making in Higher Ed

by Kate Heider, Technical Writer | Mar 05, 2018

"Data-driven" is not just a buzzword anymore, it's a mission. In recent years the tracking and analysis of data has become increasingly sophisticated, especially in higher ed where it’s gone beyond the registrar’s office and enrollment. The following five articles examine how schools are currently using and managing data -- for everything from tracking student life cycles to making the most of campus resources -- along with projected trends for 2018.

Data and the student life cycle

The mission of CEO David L. Felsenthal is to assist both students and institutions via predictive analytics. He tells the Chronicle of Higher Education that much of his work around student success is based on data analysis in the health care industry. "So we took a lot of concepts around population health,” he says, “making sure consumers, and not just patients, stay as healthy as possible throughout their life cycle --and brought that same kind of theory over to education, to think about the student life cycle, everything from kindergarten through college and employment outcomes."

Self-service analytics empower campus staff

This article in EdTech Magazine spotlights Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana, which developed "a self-service analytics platform to deliver data on demand to administrators, staff, faculty, and other users." One of the team's takeaways from their work in creating this platform is that data analytics is not a one-and-done project, it's an ongoing process. "Data and the technologies built to leverage it are always evolving," according to the article. "So teams managing analytics systems should embrace a continuing-education philosophy."

Ed Tech Trends in 2018

The first article on this list, from Campus Technology Magazine, looks at how higher ed institutions are using data-driven analytics for more than just successful student outcomes. They're analyzing how classroom usage affects new construction projects, as well as options for converting aging computer labs. "Efforts like these can not only streamline campus operations, but also ensure that we are making the most of the resources we have in the service of teaching and learning," says Thomas Hoover.

New horizons for blockchain

In this piece from Ed Tech Magazine, Erin Brereton examines the many benefits of blockchain technology on campus, including streamlined recordkeeping and financial aid tracking. Still in its early stages, MIT has been developing an open-source blockchain project that could eventually lay the groundwork for new types of student credentials.

Data as a core business disruptor

CIO Magazine reports that this year will see new uses for large, unstructured data hubs, also known as “data lakes.” "The new dumping ground of data has gone through experimental deployments over the last few years, and will start to be shut down unless they prove that they can deliver value," according to Alation executive Ken Hoang. One of his predictions for data lakes is that they will become rich sources for machine learning and "context-as-a-service."