Data Analytics Enhances Higher Education

by Allen D
The concept of data analysis is useful in transforming human behavior innumerably. Search engines, learning machines, and predictive analytics shape the types of products people buy, the games people play, and the movies people watch. The article, “Big Data For Higher Ed: With $4.1M From First Round, Floodgate, Former Kaplan Exec Launches Civitas Learning” by Rip Empson, announced that Civitas Learning, a start up company, has embarked on this contingency to transform higher education. Colleges and universities are limited to their old systems and resources as student admissions are rapidly increasing. This makes it difficult for institutions to track the efficacy of students’ progression towards their degree. This includes figuring out whether or not their curricula, testing, coursework, and teaching styles are working for them. Civitas Learning provides a service that enables administrators to process student demographics and behavioral information between generations. Such technology grants institutions the ability to make sense of their large data and provide ¬†recommendations to different courses. Civitas is well on its way towards their mission. They raised $4.1M in funds from companies such as Austin Ventures, First Round Capital, and Floodgate. So far, they’ve collected over one million student records and more than seven million course records from community colleges, four-year universities, and proprietary schools. Charles Thornburgh continues to work with more than dozens of institutions to optimize their data proceeds.

I chose this article because I found it rather appalling that institutions of higher education don’t already use data modeling to analyze students’ academic career. If every school adopted this system, student’s grade point averages would increase. If there was such a system to analyze what particular teaching style would best suit your learning style, people would be a lot more engaged in their classes and hence, performing better. As I read this article, I imagine the sheer amount of entity relationship diagrams and data models to support the many variables required for the database to be fully and accurately analyzed.

I like how the system of analyzing higher education data has finally been implemented after all these years. As more schools join the effort, its data sets will increase and the value of these institutions will increase as well as recognition. The quality of student and teacher collaboration would definitely enhance the learning experience and guarantee a money’s worth education.



Empson, Rip.. (2012, May. 31 ). In Big Data For Higher Ed: With $4.1M From First Round, Floodgate, Former Kaplan Exec Launches Civitas Learning. Retrieved Oct. 7, 2011, from