MOOCs should be the Holy Grail of student data, but they aren't there yet.
One of the great promises of massive open online courses, besides making education more accessible for more students, is the treasure trove of student data collected on a grand scale.
Large amounts of data are exactly what higher education needs to stay relevant in this era of disruptive change, as Arizona State University's Adrian Sannier pointed out in his keynote at last year's Campus Technology annual conference. The only way to make sure colleges and universities are continually boosting student success, he said, is evidence-based pedagogy. And that requires scale: "You can't take evidence one class at a time, one person at a time — it takes too long, you don't get a broad enough sample…. I'm not sure you can do it at a university, at a single institution. You may not have enough scale, you may not have enough size."