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Is Dark Data the Key to Enhancing and Personalizing the Student Journey?

by Jenna Sindle

In higher education, data can provide insights that help educators enhance the student journey through tailored learning plans that track student progress, but what if they’re not accessing all the data that their institutions has. In academia, dark data is data that’s collected in regular processes, admissions process to test scores and everything in between, that ends up stored and quite likely forgotten in functional applications.

“Think of [dark data] like all of the pictures you’ve ever taken on your phone,” explained Tom Taulli for Forbes. “Most of them will never be used or even viewed again, but they are there. So as for dark data, it’s all the information companies collect, don’t use, have no plans to use, but will never throw out.”

And although the concept of dark data isn’t a new one, IT operations leaders in the higher education sector are motivated now more than ever to use dark data to unleash critical insights that will personalize the student experience as well as help students stay on track with their progress.

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However, therein lies the problem: organizations have valuable information in their departmental application but it’s not immediately accessible or connected to their data warehouses. Once this is understood, IT leaders and executives must work to move this data out of apps and into their data warehouse without creating performance limitations or requiring lots of developer resources to make it happen.

“As an IT operations leader, you want to look at the history – or into the future – to predict, “how do we personalize the student journey to track progress and tailor programs based on the hidden data we’re discovering within our organization? Those analytics tools, those BI tools, aren’t in [your PaaS] or any of the SaaS apps, they’re in the data warehouse,” Explained industry expert, Andrew Pritchard.

From there Pritchard explained that, when analyzing this data, there’s a push for continuous intelligence. This means that rather than relying on updates, where the data is moved from a SaaS app to a data warehouse, leaders in healthcare IT want instant and seamless access to create and run reports wherever and whenever. The challenges with this is that it leads organizations to believe they can tackle their own integration and with the immense data growth and overflow of reporting growth, performance will undoubtedly decline.

On tackling the need for instant access and seamless integration, “Perspectium DataSync, provides an as-a-service approach to moving data and automating the management and creation of the data store and the management of data flowing between your application and your data repository,” said Pritchard.

With higher education institutions looking for ways to harness all this data that’s been locked away, seamless integration, that handles continuous data growth while eliminating performance decline, is possible. Using platforms rooted in a service approach can move data and keep it flowing for easy accessibility.

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