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The Data-Informed Institution

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Content elements: › How education is using data for digital transformation › The mission and business value of data › Data, adaptability, and agility › Agility for data - 6 steps › How can we use data to bring adaptability to our institution? › In closing › About the author Brady's idea applies across organizations and roles. Can a fundraiser easily explore data to find unexpected patterns in donor contributions? Can facilities explore data to identify opportunities for lowering carbon footprint? Can finance explore data to concoct new ways to improve efficiencies? Can IT leaders test their hypotheses about how to optimize cloud spending with rigor and creativity? Can the organization explore recruitment data and student services data together with student engagement data to discover correlations between recruitment, student support, and outcomes? Curiosity drives innovation and improvement. Agile data allows employees to freely explore ideas, hypotheses, and conjectures at the speed of thought and to promote new ideas with the data to support them. To make data agile, an institution needs to address how and what data it gets, how it preserves that data, how and under what conditions it makes the data available, and what tools and skills it has for working with that data. Here are the six steps. 1. Get the data To use the data nimbly, we must first have the data. And given the unknown uses to which we will put it, we need to collect more data than we know how to use. That, in a nutshell, is what "big data" is about. Fortunately, with the cloud, the cost of storing data is low and declining. We can, therefore, instrument our business processes to produce data, lots of it, and make it available for analysis. For example, IoT applications often include sensors that blast a stream of data points into the cloud that the enterprise can analyze immediately or store away for future analysis. Enterprises can also now work with a much wider range of data types: video, text, and speech, for example. The possibilities for using all of this information in novel and interesting ways is tremendous. Higher education institutions, for example, can take various media formats of learning objects and catalog them (through tagging) so that they can be prescribed to the right learner at the right time. Alef Education, for example, a leading EdTech provider in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), collects 100 million data points each day through its learning platform to create a real-time dashboard on student progress and to trigger automated processes such as targeted support, automated assessments, and grading. This saves educators time and provides a more personalized learning experience for students. 8

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