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Jun 05 2012

Why Big Data Is Spilling Over from Small Business to Higher Education

Stanford and UC Berkeley are leading the way in effective use of big data.

Businesses, hospitals, governments and schools have been collecting huge amounts of data for years. Big data has been a hot topic recently, mostly due to the privacy concerns surrounding the giant sets of information. 

Businesses were the first to put big data to good use. Collecting data about customers and commerce can unveil patterns, such as seasonal trends, that open up very profitable marketing opportunities. Some websites, such as Google and Facebook, are currently collecting huge amounts of private data in order to serve personalized advertisements to their users, a move that carries a number of security concerns.

To improve academic outcomes and keep students in school, teachers, learners and administrators need access to insight in real time. Big data, predictive analytics, machine learning and recommendation engines are transforming the way we buy products, play games and watch movies, and Civitas Learning believes that the same should be true for education.

Historically, higher education has been anything but data driven, so this week the Austin-based startup came out of stealth to launch a service that combines student demographic, behavioral and academic info with next-gen analysis, recommendation and data modeling tech to let institutions build and make sense of their big data. The startup is working with community colleges, four-year universities, and proprietary schools to build what it claims is already the largest cross-institutional data set in the industry, with over one million student records and more than seven million course records on file.

Read the full article here.

Some colleges are taking matters into their own hands. Recognizing that our economy is largely data driven, schools like Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley, are taking advantage of their proximity to Silicon Valley by analyzing and acting on their data. In fact, UC Berkeley recently hosted a conference on the topic of big data, called DataEDGE. Learn more about the conference in the video below:

How is your university planning to capture, analyze and act on big data?