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