Big Data On Campuses: Places Of Intuition And Serendipity

Data diggers hope to improve an education system in which professors often fly blind.

What role does a professor play when an algorithm recommends the next lesson?

If colleges can predict failure, should they steer students away from challenges? When paths are so tailored, do campuses cease to be places of exploration?

Data mining hinges on one reality about life on the Web: what you do there leaves behind a trail of digital breadcrumbs. Companies scoop those up to tailor services, like the matchmaking of eHarmony or the book recommendations of Amazon. Now colleges, eager to get students out the door more efficiently, are awakening to the opportunities of so-called Big Data.

As more of this technology comes online, it raises new tensions. This article explores what Data Analysis does for Campuses around the globe.

This article is part of a collaboration between The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education, a daily source of news and opinion for professors, administrators and others interested in academe.

Adapted from “Big Data on Campus”. To read, click here.

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