The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Small Data Can Accomplish Big Changes

There’s plenty of talk about big data and how it is changing everything, including education. However, colleges and university officials should be thinking about “small data,” according to Stephen Laster, former chief information officer of the Harvard Business School and current chief digital officer of McGraw-Hill Education.

“I love the idea of bringing data together to look for patterns and insights, but not in education,” he said during his keynote address at the Campus Technology 2014 conference in Boston.

A lot of students start school, but not enough finish, a fact that Laster considers “almost a crime.” A program that helped summer students at the University of Texas El Paso prepare for college math through the use of knowledge maps and artificial intelligence engines is just one example of the kind of small-data initiative Laster recommends.

“Small data is not going to be the sole driver, but it can be one small piece,” he said. “We cannot unilaterally drive the change, but we can drive a lot of it. Let’s start small.”

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