Data could shape your future education

by Brian B
The article I chose is “Big Data on Campus” by Marc Parry. The author talks about data being used by schools to track how students are doing in class and shaping the classes they are taking or changing their major to better suit the student. With the increasing amounts of data that colleges are collecting they are able to recommend classes to students based on past performance in other classes or from their transfer records. They are doing this by using software that is similar to what Netflix uses. They track how well the students have done in past classes and give them recommendations based on that data (Parry, 2012). These programs are coupled with new styles of classes. The classes are held in a classroom but the classes themselves are taught on computers. As a student progresses through the class they are given specific areas to focus on. The class becomes focused on the areas that a student needs help in rather than just having a static curriculum. The data that these campuses are collecting is also being used to get students more involved in campus life. Campuses can use this data to get students involved in clubs or activities “that might tie them more deeply to the institution.” (Parry, 2012).

This article is related to our class because the kind of technology talked about in the article relies heavily on databases and algorithms to function. It was also related to this week’s lectures because we talked about data; and schools will need to collect massive quantities of data to use this technology to its full potential. This form of data gathering could lead to more numerous and bigger databases being used by schools to track student performance as well as other areas of the student’s life on campus.

I liked the article because it presents a way to more effectively place students in majors and classes. However, it bothers me that colleges are talking away a lot of the decision making power from the students and placing it in the hands of a program that uses data stored in a database. But it is interesting to see the way that colleges are using the data they collect to provide students with a more streamlined way of picking classes to take.

 
Parry, M. (2012, July 18). Big Data on Campus. Retrieved from New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/education/edlife/colleges-awakening-to-the-opportunities-of-data-mining.html?pagewanted=all

4 thoughts on “Data could shape your future education

  • September 30, 2012 at 1:10 am
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    This was a great post. It is amazing how technology is becoming increasing integrated into education, and with software such as this, it can only improve how students are performing. If successful, this software implemented in the school above could be a milestone for education and technology everywhere. Great choice of article!

  • September 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm
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    I found this post very intriguing. Technology has increased so much in the past ten years! Before, we were relying on physical file systems to perform the delicate and complicated task of registering or even keeping a college organized. Now we can design algorithms and create databases that will take most of the thinking out of it. It is amazing the range of usefulness this technology has become. Great post Brian!!

  • September 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm
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    I think it’s a great idea how these computers are trying to guide students through the student’s academic career. Many students don’t have an idea what career path they want to take or even what clubs on campus to join. With these algorithms, maybe these computers can help guide students to a major the students would be happy in instead of students constantly changing their majors and staying in school longer than they would have to.

  • October 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm
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    Good choice of article as it is relevant to database topic, current technology (big data) and the environment we understand (higher education).

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