Higher education institutions like the University of Maastricht are becoming more and more interested in making use of Big Data. Big Data is becoming more and more important, as nowadays people are saving different kinds of information on more diverse kinds of media. On top of the fact that more kinds of data are stored, it is also easier for people to gather data themselves and to exchange this via a lot of different devices. Storing these amounts of data is a big challenge, but analyzing it has also become much more important and useful.
Maastricht University has also done research on what it could achieve when focusing more on the use of Big Data. There are different categories of information the university could gather and it could even go as far as predicting the student’s performance levels. Big Data will be able to show us performance and demographics details of students and their social networks, and the combination of this information will make it possible to create profiles of applicants that would be most likely to enroll at Maastricht University. On top of that, it is possible to work with data that the university already obtains (its personal big data) in order to monitor student’s performance levels. Bill Schmarzo (2014) stated in his article on Big Data, that the combination of social media data, previous test results and ongoing students test performances could support the design of a more detailed profile of university students’ behavior and effectiveness. When taking these findings into consideration the university could focus on improving course material or extending its services to individual tutoring or other types of guidance that could improve the performance of students in the long run. All the possibilities that are ahead for the use of Big Data are diverse and extremely interesting, and should be explored by us all.
Today Maastricht University can already say that it has taken part in competitions and conferences regarding Big Data and we are curious to see what challenges it will take on next in its journey to innovate and improve current practices.