Big Data in Higher Education

By: Mohamad Saleh

line graph of data on a computer

Data and education go hand-in-hand since school began recording their grade books. The use of big data in education goes far beyond recording grades, involving information pertaining to students’ demographics, performance, financials, behavior and even emotions across colleges and universities.

The effect of big data doesn’t stop with how a university can fine tune student’s experience with their education, it can also be genuinely useful in finding solutions to the tough challenges facing the education field. As an educator, the more data you have about your students, the more you’ll be able to learn from it.

Here are few ways that universities and colleges can benefit from incorporating big data into their operations:

1. Big data helps answer some challenging questions.

One great example that is notable in the education industry is Enrollment Declines. Big data is useful here to determine where, when, and why enrollments are changing. Here are some of the questions in which big data should be able to answer:

a. Is decline occurring in one college or across multiple colleges?

b. Is decline occurring within certain period, or with certain professor whose classes have low enrollments?

c. Can we merge sections to improve enrollments level?

2. Big data makes it easier to find what you’re looking for.

With few browsing clicks you can find information that goes beyond the number of enrollments per semester, involving student outcomes, retention rates, course success rates, year-over-year enrollment tracking and course optimization section.

For example, with real-time system you can make decisions quicker than ever before. This is helpful particularly during enrollment periods when university are tracking enrollment numbers in order to prepare for the upcoming semester.

3. Big data can save costs.

For example, if class Math101 have 4 sections and only two are full, you can merge the other two sections together to preserve resources such as space and energy, and faculty time as well.

Are you passionate about data analysis? Consider applying to the College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University, where you can earn your Doctor of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Data Analytics.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.