Blog Archives

Sharing best practice to make the most of big data


By Phil Richards, Chief Innovation Officer, Jisc.

So far perhaps big data and analytics are not shaping a wiser society: the way many people experience analytics is when they see personalised adverts for things they have just bought, and are not likely to want to buy again so soon! By analogy, using analytics to present more online resources for things that have just been learnt is not so useful, but as the predictive nature of analytics gets smarter — so that people are presented with what they want to buy next, or learn next — then I think that will assist a wiser society.

From our point of view, Jisc’s traditional strengths lie at each end of the modern digital stack: at one end, our data traversing Janet network, helping world-class research and discoveries such as the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in CERN; at the other, modern digital content, data and metadata around academic publications and online learning materials.

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Getting to Know Ourselves (Really)


By Alyssa Wise, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University.

How much do you really know about how you learn best? While most of us would like to think that we know ourselves pretty well, research shows that our recollections of how we go about learning something (or studying for a test or writing an essay) are actually quite poor.

This is an area in which learning analytics can be especially helpful by providing us with accurate data about what we do when learn online and whether or not how we are currently going about things is effective for us.

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Towards a gender neutral curriculum


By Anne-Marie Imafidon, founder and head of Stemettes.

Big data and analytics are here to stay, and they certainly can allow us to make smarter decisions, but what could they imply regarding STEM education? As founder of Stemettes, an organisation promoting women into science and tech fields, Imafidon sees those areas as an opportunity to advance into a more inclusive curriculum, making STEM fields more attractive to everyone. Don’t miss her reflections on the topic in the short video below. Imafidon’s contribution was possible thanks to the kind collaboration of the TEDxBarcelona Education event.

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Improving learning outcomes, avoiding cognitive biases


By Volker Hirsch, mobile, gaming and digital media entrepreneur and executive.

A lawyer by education, Volker Hirsch has mixed feelings about the main question of this blog. On one hand he sees the main benefits of data analysis coming from educational processes, but he also points out that teachers will remain the most important element in students’ progresses and achievements. He alerts also of the dangers of thinking that it is possible to get any outcome one may want with a big enough data set. Check his complete reflections in the short video below. Hirsch contribution was possible thanks to the kind collaboration of the TEDxBarcelona Education event.

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Shedding light on personal data, analytics and education

Angel A. Juan

By Angel A. Juan, Associate Professor, UOC – IN3.

Welcome to this new blog on Analytics and its social impact on Business, Smart Cities, and, specially, Education. In particular, through the opening question of the blog we are interested in analyzing how Analytics and Big Data are transforming our society, from the way people move around modern cities to the way governments and enterprises use customers’ data — sometimes crossing ethical boundaries — to infer and influence their behavior.

In effect, organizations have now access to an enormous amount of personal data describing our habits, tastes, and social or professional links. The proper combination of these data with current computing power and analytic methods allow these organizations to extract and infer individual and collective behavior patterns.

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About the Question
Are Big Data & Analytics shaping a smarter society?

Every day we generate a huge amount of big data, but we need to resort to analytics to make abstract information meaningful and get valuable knowledge from it. In education, learning platforms let us easily gather an immense quantity of data regarding students’ behaviour, interactions, preferences and opinions. When properly analysed — through learning analytics — all these data might provide useful insight on how to make learning processes more adaptive, attractive and efficient.

Are these techniques allowing us to provide better support to our students? Are we taking advantage of big data and analytics to help shape the citizens of the future?

Big Data and Simheuristics