Small is beautiful: an antidote to Big Data (altc2013)

The above titled presentation was given at the recent altc2013 conference in Nottingham. It was based on work undertaken by the jisc cetis service in the production of the Cetis Analytics Series in 2012/13.  In addition, towards the end of the 2012-13 academic year we undertook a Survey of the State of Analytics in UK Higher and Further Education Institutions 2013.

Some reflections based on the comments by session participants:

  • there is significant interest around undertaking small scale analytics projects, that is ones that don’t depend on high level management support or significant amounts of resource
  • there is concern around the purpose to which analytics might be used, with a risk that crude interpretations made by administrators and managers may result in harm being done
  • the biggest barrier to making initial progress is modelling an institutions data: what data is collected; where is it held; and how can it be accessed
  • there are only the beginnings of an understanding of what benefits analytics might bring for learners better understnding out their own learning and the better organisation of institutions
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