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Diving Into the Cloud | Feature

How the Cloud Can Improve Campus Operations: Data Analysis

According to a 2011 research project by CDW-G, half of higher ed institutions use Google Docs and Gmail. Beyond freeing IT from having to support in-house e-mail and collaboration systems, Google's cloud-based applications also provide in-depth analytic capabilities through Google Analytics. The service provides a way to analyze traffic on sites, documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.

But analytics don't stop with Google. Every major cloud-based service builds reporting into its product, allowing colleges and universities to base decisions on solid data--and hopefully improve both their products and the customer experience.

In the first half of 2011, for example, the University of Northern Colorado pulled a report from its hosted version of Blackboard to evaluate system usage. The report outlined several research goals, including "how and why faculty, staff, and students use the current LMS" and "to provide insight into areas where updates, changes, or best practices may need to be applied to facilitate increased online delivery."

About the Authors

Rama Ramaswami is a business and technology writer based in New York City.

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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