QS is on a permanent mission to ensure informed choices are made about higher education. This month, it took this commitment to a new level by holding the first Edu Data Summit, intended to look at all the ways in which big data is informing universities and improving the student experience.
Held in London on June 8-10, the Summit brought in almost 200 people from across the globe to talk about how the big data is impacting upon education. They included a host of fascinating speakers, led by initial keynote speaker Rafael Reif, President of MIT, who opened the event by video link.
Far from being a gleam on some futurologist’s horizon scan, the data wave has already hit academic life. Part of the reason is the growth in student use of connected devices. When people wrote essays on paper, it was hard to tell how they did it. Now a wealth of data is available on how they work, how long it takes them to do things, and where they work and spend time. Allied to the non-stop collection of data on topics such as seminar absence, this has allowed universities to create new tools that predict student failure, and allow potentially failing students to get timely help.