5 Reasons Why Universities Should Use Data Analytics

by admin | January 29, 2019 9:10 am

The world we live in means that all industries are experiencing a spike in the amount of information they receive from those who utilise their services.

Universities are not exempt from this change, and as we continue digitalising our world, the amount of information we can learn will continue to grow.

In terms of these higher education institutions, there are many different things universities can learn by analysing their data.

On the one hand, these educational institutions have the data from their online presence; this includes things like website users, email and social media interactions, and anything else that the university may use in the digital age.

On the other hand, you have student data, which can be analysed to assess everything a student has done while receiving an education at this institution.

With so much analytical data available at your fingertips, it can be difficult to know where to start with it all, especially if you don’t have a website analyst on hand.

Digital Authority Partners[1] is a Chicago-based agency who offers web analytics services and can help your university better understand the data it’s analysing.

They will provide you with easy-to-understand reports and break down your metrics into easy to understand chunks, with support on hand whenever your institution needs it.

If you’re still unsure about whether to make the investment, however, here are the five most important reasons why your university institution should utilise data analytics going forwards.

It Enables Universities To Discover At Risk Students And Positively Impact Drop Out Rates

The youngest students at your university establishments are going to have just turned eighteen, meaning they won’t aren’t always the best judge of characters about what they can handle.

Even older students, in their second or third years, need help to determine the right course of action to make their university experience the best that it possibly can be.

Using data analysis, university institutions can cross reference a student’s past performances with the classes they’ve recently enrolled or registered their interest in.

This will help the institution to recognise at risk students who could potentially find these classes difficult and may need extra help to reach their full potential.

Knowing this information allows the university to employ advisors who can meet with the students on an individual basis to provide personalized, 1-on-1 support about their options.

This could include suggesting alternative classes that are better suited to the individual based on their past performance using information collected during the data analysis process.

It might instead involve the advisor putting extra support measures in place to help the individual, like an increased amount of contact hours or regular, specialised support with a guidance counsellor.

These measures will also have an impact on drop-out rates as your university will be making interventions before negative opinions have time to cement their way into your students head.

This will give them the confidence to continue with their courses, and the alternative classes that may have been recommended to them, leading to a win-win situation for both parties.

It Provides Information Your Institution Can Use To Develop, Evaluate And Change The Curriculum

By analysing data about students interest in certain courses, universities can better understand the areas of the degree that students are most interested in.

This may allow for adaptations to be made to the current curriculum set up to allow more of what the students like to learn to be taught, getting rid of irrelevant topics that may not influence a student’s overall grade.

Varied data, analysed by a data analyst, can be used to help evaluate the effectiveness of the current curriculum and work out whether it is effective in helping students reach their desired grades.

Do they know relevant details that will help them in exams and coursework, for example? Are they learning about these things in as much detail as needed?

These questions can all be answered by taking an in-depth look at your data.

If there is determined to be a problem in this area, appropriate changes  can be made to improve a student’s experience.

It Increases Student Satisfaction

Most university institutions will regularly collect information about student satisfaction levels, through the use of optional survey’s and in-person questions.

While this information can be useful if students are honest, many feel unable to project their true feelings about something when the information can be traced back to them.

Instead, analysing data can provide you with completely anonymous information about student satisfaction across the board by comparing exam results, lecture and seminar attendance, and engagement during said lessons.

Knowing this information will provide lecturers with the information they need to understand where extra measures need to be put in place within the university to bring specific departments or lectures up to the same standards as the rest of the university.

This will increase student loyalty, and increase the community feel of your university by making students realize that you are constantly looking for ways to change—and improve—your institution.

On top of that, making these changes could also positively impact on your submission and admission rates, as your university is more likely to receive a positive reputation on the internet.

Universities Can Easily Evaluate A Lecturers Performance

Lecturers and other members of staff at higher educational facilities aren’t evaluated in the same way as other, lower level institutions are.

This can mean that it’s easier for standards to slip, and teachers to get lazy if they think nobody is paying attention to, of valuing, their performance.

It may also be the case that certain lecturers do not have the same ability to convey a message across to their students as others, which will bring down the overall performance of the entire department.

Using data analysis to look at coursework and exam grades can help you to quickly determine lecturers that may need extra support to bring them in line with other lecturers within the department or university as a whole.

Knowing this information will allow you to provide extra training measures to bring them up to this standard, hold a disciplinary meeting to warn them of what could happen if things don’t improve, or even replace lecturers if the issue is ongoing.

Endnotes:
  1. Digital Authority Partners: https://www.digitalauthority.me/web-analytics-services-chicago/

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