Using Data in Higher Education

A recent post on Inform.Ed, “Big Data in Education: Big Potential or Big Mistake” discusses the potential benefits of and problems with learner analytics. The most common argument in favor of learner analytics is that it can provide students with quicker, more responsive feedback that helps them take charge of their own learning; similarly, instructors can gain a more accurate understanding of how students are interacting with course materials and the course website, just as administrators can track and assess teaching and learning across courses and programs.

On the other hand, as Inform.Ed’s writer Saga Briggs points out, the use of big data can lead to concerns about privacy, the danger of viewing students as numbers, and the potential for misinterpreting or misrepresenting the data.

At UC Davis, we are considering learner analytics in our investigation of learning management system (LMS) options for UC Davis; in the future, we hope our LMS will provide on-the-fly analytics about student use of the course website.

Marco Molinaro, assistant vice provost for undergraduate education and iAMSTEM Hub director has also been an advocate of learner analytics at UC Davis.

We welcome your thoughts and opinions on big data in general and learner analytics in particular!

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