Higher Education Innovation In Action

  • 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."

  • Higher Ed News Roundup

    by Kate Heider, Technical Writer | Mar 09, 2017

    From improving the academic experience for all students to the latest developments in campus connectivity and cybersecurity, here are a few of the Higher Ed topics we’re following right now.

    Report: What’s Driving Higher Ed Innovation in 2017?

    In a blog post for Inside Higher Ed, professor Steven Mintz discusses the New Media Consortium’s report on new pedagogies, credentialing, emerging roles for educators, proactive support systems, and many other trends that are shaping the future of higher education. “Undergirding this report,” Mintz writes, “is the sense that every facet of the academic experience needs to be rethought as higher education becomes more personalized and data driven.”

    Reimagining the Academic Experience

    How ‘Knowing Your Coworkers’ Can Help Stop Cybercrime

    Email scams have evolved well beyond “foreign diplomats” asking you to wire money to an offshore account. Today’s cyber attackers rely on stealthier and more subtle methods. This Computerworld article tells the story of an alert executive who was able to recognize a forged email based on one simple word – “kindly” – and his quick thinking prevented a $20,000 loss. The takeaway? “Nuanced phrasing and other small details can flag a potential imposter.”

    A Better Security Strategy than ‘Know Your Enemy’: Know Your Coworkers

    Can Predictive Analytics Reduce Dropout Rates?

    The New York Times takes a look at how institutions across the country are using big data to predict student success or failure within a given major. The goal? To help students avoid the kinds of critical mistakes, early in their academic careers, that typically lead to dropping out. “Algorithm is not destiny,” says Martin Kurzweil, program director for an education research organization, “but I think the people in predictive analytics are mostly white hats, and they’re doing it because they really believe they’re helping students.”

    Will You Graduate? Ask Big Data

    Mentoring Programs Key to ‘First Gen’ Student Success

    Approximately 1.5 million undergrads in the U.S. are the first in their families to attend college. Although their backgrounds cut across socioeconomic lines, many of these students struggle with routine aspects of campus life that – if left unchecked – can cast a shadow over an otherwise bright academic career. In response, schools around the nation have developed first-gen student support systems that focus on academic counseling, financial aid, and social integration. The Columbus Post-Dispatch reports on the recent successes of one such program. 

    First-generation College Students Find Success with Help of New Programs

    Smart Device Breakthrough Bolsters Campus Connectivity

    Before the start of each new school year, your institution’s IT department works hard to shore up network infrastructure and boost campus connectivity to meet the demand for “always on” access. According to a recent article in EdTech Magazine, a smart device breakthrough may help support those efforts. “Today, learning requires a computer to be available 24/7,” says assistant professor Pedro Ferreira. “Very quickly, it will also require [Internet of Things] devices to stay on 24/7, and those who are unable to get access to better battery technology may be left out of the revolution that IoT is likely to bring to higher education.” 

    Advanced Batteries Poised to Power Up Higher Education IoT

    What higher ed or technology trends are you seeing so far this year? Please share with us in the comments.