The Promises & Pitfalls of Big Data in Higher Education

By Nick Jenkins, for Education and digital culture, 2015

This essay seeks to explore the promises and pitfalls of the Big Data Revolution for higher education. In attempting to do so, however, one thing becomes immediately apparent; that it is not possible to talk about Big Data as a single entity. Rather, Big Data needs to be understood on a series of fronts, including as practices of data collection and analysis (practice), as techniques that reflect basic assumptions about the nature and value of knowledge (epistemology) and as instruments employed to further socio-political goals (ideology).