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The Impact of Big Data on Higher Education By @GilAllouche | @CloudExpo [#BigData]

Applications of Big Data in universities

Where’s Big Data’s next big splash going to be? We’ve already seen it make waves in the healthcare industry as it combats death. It’s taken athletics to the next level by monitoring millions of movements during an NBA game and helping professional rugby players avoid potential injuries. It’s entered the military, art and music industries too.

It seems to be everywhere.

Still, there are plenty of inroads to be made by Big Data into numerous different sectors, one of which is higher education.

Perhaps one of the most important parts of the future of our country, or any country for that matter, is the skill, integrity, knowledge and work ethic of those who graduate from the higher education system. These individuals represent a large chunk of the country’s future workforce, and consequently, they have a large effect on the economy and society as a whole.

With that being said, it’s important that students at that level get the best possible education. Not only for our country’s sake now, but also in the future. How then, can big data analytics have an impact on higher education? I’ve mentioned three below.

1. Admissions
Each year, numerous times, administrators at colleges and universities across the country gather together to analyze and consider applications from hundreds and thousands of students. For some of the larger, well-known schools this can be an extremely intense process lasting numerous weeks or months.

The administrators must pour over packets and essays and answers while trying to be objective and fair. Not only is that impossible to ask — there will always be individual biases that play a part in the process — but it’s so impractical too. These administrators spend so much of their time with this tedious process; time that could be more effectively used in other places.

Big Data can help schools with their admissions dilemma. By automating the admissions process, schools can save thousands of man hours, decrease bias and favoritism and increase the amount of high-quality applicants that enter and do it much quicker, especially with programs like Hadoop Hive. Certainly there could still be the human element if needed, but a large part of the process could be handled through big data.

2. Cheating
Certainly our world could do with more honesty and integrity in both the workplace and in the education environment. Unfortunately, schools can’t rely on all their students being honest and safeguards have to be put into place. With the changes in technology and the advent of smart devices it can be harder than ever to catch cheating. Big data with it’s ability to capture so much information and analyze it in real-time can be a vital tool for catching cheating in all it’s forms, especially plagiarism.

If we expect our society and economy to move forward we’ve got to eliminate cheaters in the school system, before they enter the workforce. The cost they incur through selfish cheating is detrimental not only to themselves but to those for whom and with whom they will work.

3. Flexibility
It’s no secret that the world is changing at an extremely rapid pace and technology has a large part to play in that change. At the same time, higher ed schools need to figure out ways to keep up with the changes to ensure students the best possible work and service opportunities upon graduation. Indeed, this is vital for all levels of education, but especially at the university level.

With social media, mobile apps, smart devices, self-driving cars and a plethora of other possibilities enabled by technological advances, the fields of employment in the future will be much different than five years ago or even today. Even ten years ago no one could have predicted the jobs that would arise from social media and smart phones. Because of that there’s a shortage of talent in industries that need it, and yet there’s a vast surplus in areas that don’t.

True, students have their choice. They can’t be forced into an occupation, yet too often they don’t have the best options available to choose from. With big data technology schools can do a better job of offering students the majors and classes that will give them the best opportunity to succeed in a rapidly evolving society.

These are just three of numerous ways that big data is impacting and will continue to impact higher education. It’s helping to prepare the best workforce the country has ever seen. And that will benefit the entire society.

More Stories By Gil Allouche

Gil Allouche is the Vice President of Marketing at Qubole. Most recently Sr. Director of Marketing for Karmasphere, a leading Big Data Analytics company offering SQL access to Apache Hadoop, where he managed all marketing functions, Gil brings a keen understanding of the Big Data target market and its technologies and buyers. Prior to Karmasphere, Gil was a product marketing manager and general manager for the TIBCO Silver Spotfire SaaS offering where he developed and executed go-to-market plans that increased growth by 600 percent in just 18 months. Gil also co-founded 1Yell, a social media ad network company. Gil began his marketing career as a product strategist at SAP while earning his MBA at Babson College and is a former software engineer.

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