More institutions are now taking advantage of Analytical Dashboard Software, whether it be in the form of Excel Dashboard Software or Online Dashboards using some kind of SAAS service - study plans are developed based on data taken from students. Because of Analytics, courses have been tailor-made for classes, and one class is unique from another. Analytics also provide a gauge for academicians to rate their institutions and themselves, using it as a tool for improvement and solutions-based programs.
The Role of Analytics in Higher Education
In a study for ECAR 2012, various words and themes emerged to define analytics. These are classroom use, prediction, automatic data, Google, course distribution, data mining, and metrics. Synthesizing these terms, analytics is defined as the process of gathering and interpreting data to address, give light to, or answer a strategic question.
Idea: Use Google Trends to find out most popular subjects and use it with a data visualization tool to analyze
Analytics is also seen as more than an innovation in IT; it has become a catalyst in higher education and institutions (HEI). The data are automatically collected, thus saving time and effort. Once these data become available for analysis, they can now be used in decision making.
Why is Analytics Important?
One of the obvious benefits and use of analytics for higher education is its application in the many areas of the academe. Data can be gleaned from and used for enrollment purposes, monitoring student and faculty progress, developing courses and strategic plans, spearheading faculty and student research, enhancing library and human resources, and promoting student learning.
Other perceived benefits and use of analytics for higher education are as follows:
1. Analytics helps in recruiting students.
The data found in enrollment rates can help the institution project trends for the incoming terms. A low enrollment rate is enough proof to beef up campaigns and recruitment schemes. Courses may be offered for free for struggling students.
2. It can aid students as they move to a higher level of learning.
Surveys may be conducted to identify how students learn best; there are many strategies for learning and teaching. Data gleaned may be used to capitalize on a certain program (i.e. remedial program or advanced classes).
Dashboards and learning systems are a few of the most popular IT solutions in education now. With the seamless merging of traditional teaching and use of multimedia, students learn at their own pace and comfort.
3. Analytics improve administrative services.
Gone are the days when administrative services are at a turtle pace. With analytics, processing of data is faster and more convenient. Human error may also be avoided since the system facilitates the automation process.
4. HEIs will be able to reduce costs.
For the most part, HEIs may rely on one-manned systems instead of hiring more people to carry out tasks. This means that the budget intended for human resources may be allotted for other matters, such as improving facilities.
5. Data-sharing is possible.
Since the data are readily available anytime needed, reports can be sent with just a click of a button. Data-sharing is also possible, especially if the systems have links to social media sites and computers within the institution.
6. Tasks are done in so little time.
Automation of tasks and data analytics make the entire institution efficient and effective. No time is wasted in repetitive tasks.
7. HEIs will have a better understanding of student behavior.
Demographics and student backgrounds are tracked best with analytics. With the data taken from their enrollment forms, grades, and other relevant school documents, the institution will have a better understanding of what their students are and what could best serve them.
For example, students who are known to live in far areas may be offered dormitories. Those who excel in Mathematics may be selected to compete against students from other universities. Students with a high academic performance yet come from poor families may be offered a scholarship.
8. Above all, the school gets to retain a large percentage of the student body.
Services matter to students a lot. If an HEI caters such services, there is no reason for students to look for another university.
A New Beginning in Higher Education
Indeed, it is high time for HEIs make some positive changes. With the wonders and benefits of analytics, the academe will be more responsive to the changing times and to the demands of this technology-driven world.