You are on page 1of 23

See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: https://www.researchgate.


Big Data Analytics for Higher Education in Saudi Arabia

Article  in  International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security, · June 2017

0 561

2 authors, including:

Meshael Sultan
King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences


Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects:

Big data View project

IoT for higher education View project

All content following this page was uploaded by Meshael Sultan on 11 September 2017.

The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file.

International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

Big Data Analytics for Higher Education in Saudi Arabia

Ms. Ayesha Mukthar, Lecturer Computer Science & Medical Informatics

Basic Science Department, College of Science and Health Professions
King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, AlAhsa, Saudi Arabia
Telephone: +966 013 5629000 Ext. 28433
Mobile: +966507873851

Ms. Meshael Sultan, Lecturer Computer Science & Medical Informatics

Basic Science Department, College of Science and Health Professions
King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Telephone: +966 011 2520088 Ext. 47132


The current trends of data analytics has led to larger amounts of data collection and
process resulting to Big Data. As data is being captured everywhere for each and every
action done online or offline, an Analytics study has been resulted. All systems start
generating data, which can be combined to create a better picture and to observe the
prospects of an individual. With the potential of Big Data to ascertain deeper insights for
scientific decision-making process, Big Data Analytics can become part of the solutions to
achieve the Saud Higher Education goals to be aligned with the Saudi 2030 Vision. This
paper reviews the state of Big Data Analytics, consider possible applications in Saudi
Higher Education, and finally yet importantly, identify challenges and concerns about Big
Data Analytics. This article found that Big Data Analytics presence in Saudi Higher
Education still in its very early stages and there is much yet to be done to have the
promised value of Big Data Analytics.

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

Keywords: Information Technology (IT), Massive Open Online Course, Virtual Learning
Environment, Learning Management Systems, Cloud Computing, Big Data (BD), learning
Analytics, Higher Education, Saudi Arabia.

1. ntroduction:

The rapid growth and development in Information Technology with Analytics as the science of
examining raw data for the purpose of drawing conclusions about that information generated
mountains of data called big data. Big Data (BD) simply means large and distributed, structured
and unstructured data.

Nowadays, a large amount of data is being generated in all sectors like business, industrial,
health sector, educational and our daily lives. The education IT sectors is vast growing areas
having their own independent networks, supported with securities and IT services. Due to current
trends, technologies and time as major factor, most of the education sectors have move forward
from their private networks to online services. These services can be ordered according to
requirements, such as Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a
Service etc. In addition to these services, there is another dSaaS (Data Storage as a Service),
which provides a place to store files. Cloud computing services are available as private networks
or as a support online through internet services. This accomplished the use of e-Learning
techniques in education. Followed by Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Moodle,
Blackboard etc. There are also several Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC’s) which are
readily generating data.
The paper focuses on the impact of data collection and processing in education sectors from
different resources and how to accomplish the quality education by using the concepts of Big
Data Analytics.

Corporate–academic associations are also increasing [1]; Nonetheless, to pull in and maintain
these organizations, companies require foundations of higher education to exhibit a promise to
the use and improvement of cutting edge innovations that are probably going to bolster applied
research outputs and possibilities for learning exchange and commercialization [2]. New

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

technologies keep on having a critical effect on academic careers as research and teaching turn
out to be more dependent on these innovations [3].

Big data analytics for instructional applications are in their infancy and will take a few years to
mature, although their presence is already being felt and should not be ignored. While big data
and analytics are not the key to solve all of the issues and decisions being faced by higher
education administrators, they can become part of the solutions and get integrated into
administrative and instructional functions. The purpose of this paper is to examine the evolving
world of big data and analytics in Saudi higher education. Specifically, it will look at the nature
of these concepts, provide basic definitions, consider possible applications, and last but not least,
identify concerns about their implementation and growth.

2. Literature Review:

Definition of big data has not yet to be determined. Different scholars have different views. As
authorities on big data say, “A Revolution that Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think”
[4]. According to the large quantities of data analysis to get great value products and services or
deeper insights in an unprecedented way. Big data is not only a technology but also a value and
methodology [5]. “Big Data means those big scale data which goes beyond the traditional rule
and which is hard to be captured by common software tools” [6]. It is usually measured by “the
ether”. We call it “big” is not only because of its huge capacity but also because of its greater
significance in discovering new knowledge and creating new value through exchange,
integration and analysis of massive data so that we could get “big knowledge”, “big technology”,
“big profit” and “big development” [7]. American Internet data center defined big data as a new
kind of technology architecture which obtains value from large quantities of data by high-speed
capture, detection and analysis. Wikipedia definition of big data is straightforward. Big Data
usually includes data sets with sizes beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to
capture, curate, manage, and process the data within a tolerable elapsed time [8]. Big data can
also be defined as "a large volume unstructured data which cannot be handled by standard
database management systems like DBMS, RDBMS or ORDBMS". Impel Big data research and
Development Action Plan in Shanghai has been more comprehensively generalized. Big data
includes three connotations: firstly, the great amount of data, diversity of sources and various

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

types of data sets; secondly, new-style data processing and analysis techniques; thirdly, with an
analysis creates value [9].

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a regional leader in recognizing the power of the Internet of
Things, Big Data, Data Science and Open Data. Many of the Kingdoms’s forward thinking
government ministries and entities, as well as public and private sector organizations have
moved to implement Big Data methodology as a necessary component of operational

The Saudi Arabia’s Big Data analytics market will grow from 920 million in 2013 to 1.85 billion
dollar in 2018 according to Micromarketmonitor [10]. Hearty said big data analytics would be an
integral part of the nation’s plan.

Saudi Arabia’s higher education sector has grown dramatically in recent years, both in the
number of students and in the number of tertiary institutions in the Kingdom. In 2009 there were
just 20 universities, but by 2015 this had increased to 35 and, over the same period, the numbers
of new students enrolling had increased by almost 40%, from 272,854 to 379,179, according to
data from the General Authority for Statistics. When the 207,000 students who were studying
abroad on scholarships are included, the total Saudi student population studying at home and
abroad in 2014 was 586,179 – 2.8% of the 20.7m Saudis living in the Kingdom [11].

3. Features of Big Data Analytics:

Big data has the following features. Firstly, large amounts of data volume; secondly, good real-
time and high velocity; thirdly, biases to data, veracity; fourthly, a wide range of data variety;
fifthly, secured data and verifiable; finally, extract has a high commercial value by analyzing the
big data. There is 6V of the Big Data

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

• large amount of information is often challenging to

store, process, and transfer, analyse and present.

• relating to increasing rate at which information flows

Velocity within an organisation—(eg, organisations dealing with
financial information have ability to deal with this).

• refers to the biases, noise and abnormality in data. It

also looks at how data that is being stored, and
meaningfully mined to the problem being analysed.
Veracity also covers questions of trust and uncertainty.

• referring to data in diverse format both structured and


Verification • refers to data verification and security.

• most importantly, has the data been utilised to generate

Value value of the insights, benefits and business processes,
etc. within an organisation?

Figure 1

There are additionally different properties of big data, for example, data validity, which indicates
the precision of information, and volatility, an idea related with the life span of information and
their significance to analysis results, and also the length required to store information in a helpful
frame for appropriate value-added analysis.

Aside to these properties, there are three phases required to discover the value of big data in any
association. These incorporate data collection, data analysis, visualization and application. Data
collection is the initial phase in opening the value collected from big data. This requires
recognizing data that can uncover suitable and cost-effective information. Data must be cleaned

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

for importance and put away in a useful form. Once data have been extracted into a usable form,
it must be analyzed to produce noteworthy information. Analysis needs to incorporate
connecting, associating corresponding distinctive data collections to have the capacity to
comprehend the information that should be passed on by these data. This circumstance is named
as the "complexity" of big data. Visualization and application is the last stage where the analyzed
data is made accessible to clients in a shape that is interpretable and coordinated into existing
procedures, and eventually used to guide decision making [12].

There are many areas in which universities could benefit from making use of BD analytics.
These include increasing retention; providing better feedback to students; capturing attendance
data and enhancing teaching and learning and contain costs.

If data can be used so effectively to enhance student learning, reduce time to graduation, it begs
the question whether it can also be used to improve the quality of teaching.

BD Analytics in higher education can be divided into two categories [13]. Learning analytics
focus on capturing student behavior and correlating it to achieving learning objectives, while
academic analytics tries to design predictive analytics for student attainment [14].

In Learning analytics, the student journey includes, but is not limited to, downloading study
materials and learning objects, preparing and submitting assignments, engaging with e-tutors and
e-mentors, engaging with a range of learning facilitators via the LMS through discussions groups
and blogs, uploading assignments as they prepare for examinations and digitized learning
activity indicators such as attendance [12]. " Learning analytics is concerned with the
measurement, collection, and analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for
purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs"
Learning analytics, such as Social Networks Adapting Pedagogical Practice (SNAPP), can be
deployed to analyze this unstructured data. SNAPP is a software tool that allows users to
visualize the network of interactions resulting from discussion forum posts and replies.

On the other hand, Academic analytics incorporated a variety of demographic data is captured at
registration about the student, including attributes such as gender, ethnicity, age and educational

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

background, which can be used by researchers to create student profiles linked to success
indicators such as exam success, graduation, alumni employment and student retention [12].
Academic analytics give information that directors can use to support the strategic decision-
making process and also a strategy for benchmarking in correlation with different institutions.

The combination of academic and real-time learning analytics will allow us to get a sense of
students’ losing or changing momentum as they progress, whether by analyzing their
engagement in online forums, and/or submission of assignments [16].


Faculty / Students Networks


Figure 2

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

Academic Analytics Learning Analytics

4. Application of BD Analytics for Higher Education in Saudi Arabia:

The higher education in Saudi Arabia is data rich. Institutions are not maximizing the
opportunities that data analytics presents, but more significantly, their workforces are data
illiterate. This implies institutions must ensure that digital literacy, digital capability and sound
data management strategies are central to their long-term plans if they seek to provide world-
class teaching and support to 21st century students. However, learning analytics is in its relative
earliest stages in the Saudi Arabia.

In the university, students, courses, scores, books, internet, forum, micro-blog, dashboards and
cards for dining produce a large number of data, and so do the basic information of teachers, the
courseware, video, distance teaching courses etc. Besides, there is information of the
equipment’s, computer rooms and books, etc. Therefore, more often than not, the information
systems of universities are very large. After years of operation, data that have been accumulated
is the big data of university information system. Big data in colleges and universities has a very
high value for teaching and researching. It can change teaching and learning mode in the field of
education. Big data can also help with teaching management, scientific computing of massive
data, the recruitment campaign and degree management work, etc. In the era of which the
information is very precious, teachers, students and staff in the university will benefit from the
technology of big data in many ways:

4.1 Improve education Data about students’ learning behaviors are potentially a powerful
measure for how well tutors are performing. Better teaching should produce students who
are more engaged with their studies and perform better [17]. The WEF’s report
recommended improvements in the quality of teaching and the relevance of curricula
Error! Reference source not found.. Advanced text analytics can help like natural
language processing tools (NLP’s) that work with Arabic. Using advanced analytics

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

tools, governments can help schools improve online courses and more deeply assess
educational gaps by evaluating social media. Big data can help institutions enrich
learning process and boost student performance through the panel, decrease dropout rates
and rise students success rate [12].
4.2 Curriculum improvement through the analysis of big data, educators can determine
weaknesses in student learning and comprehension to determine whether or not
improvements to the curriculum may prove necessary. Instructors can engage in
educational strategic planning to ensure that the learning curriculum targets student needs
to maximize learning potential [19]. The core of big data is forecast, which applies
mathematical algorithm to predict the likelihood of things happening. This technology
measures student engagement in order to target early interventions, and improve retention
over time. It can also be used to predict the enrollment, employment, students’ demand
and the future development of colleges and universities [20].
4.3 Providing a new platform for education since 2011, online education has been
sweeping education system. A new type of intelligent learning platform is becoming the
focus of innovation and investment in high-tech field; many companies have achieved
preliminary success such as MOOCS [17]. However, if education will continue to move
online, then there is a need to be a culture shift where both students and tutors are
comfortable with having more of their learning take place in virtual and simulated
environments, and having tutor support provided through electronic means [3]. Mobile
education is another current trend where students use their mobile and wearable
technology such as Apple Watch in their learning experience. This will help to wrap our
universities around the students, whilst addressing the graduate skill set in innovative,
flexible and demanding ways.
4.4 Developing a new teaching mode in the era of big data, the way for learners to acquire
knowledge is no longer the classroom; online study is becoming a major way for
learning. On the Internet, learners have access to the world’s best courses which are
better than the courses that are offered by any single university. Big data analytics assists
in identifying the student preferences which can help in personalizing the education
according to the student needs.Error! Reference source not found.[20] It can address

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

student needs with customized modules, assignments, feedback and learning trees in the
curriculum that will promote better and richer learning.[12]
4.5 Promoting the exchange of research and innovation mainly, big data influences
scientific research on higher education in two aspects: one can refer to books and
materials more conveniently and more quickly. Rising information of library enhances
information service based on Internet search and query be gradually absorbed and
practiced by more libraries, which makes efficient \"one-stop\" access possible. Another
one is that it provides means of communication between research institutions or experts
and scholars in higher education, which is more timely than directly using of books and
materials with two-way communication of words, pictures(graphics), sounds and other
multimedia at the same time, thus makes effective sharing of vast data possible. Big data
era has changed greatly. It is possible to launch research collaboration global,
interdisciplinary and on a large scale, share resources and collaborative work across
obstacles temporally and spatially. This will change ways and modes for scientists
engaging in scientific research, and help them promote their exchanges and cooperation
greatly [20]. It also provides scholars and researchers with needed information to identify
gaps between education and industry so that educators and institutions can overcome
these deficiencies in course offerings [19].

Big data combines the rising exploring field of learning analytics [15], which is now a
developing field in education. At this early stage a great part of the work on analytics inside
higher education is originating from interdisciplinary research, spreading over the fields of
educational technology, statistics, mathematics, computer science and information science. A
center component of the present work on analytics in education is focused on data mining.
Whenever students deal with learning technologies, they leave data trails that can uncover their
estimations, social associations, expectations and objectives. Specialists can trace and utilize
such data to analyze patterns of student performance after some time—starting with one semester
then onto the next or from 1 year to another. The added value of big data is the capacity to
recognize valuable data and transform it into usable information by distinguishing patterns and
deviations from patterns. Moreover, it brings the evidence on which to form understanding and
make informed (rather than instinctive) decisions about educational outcomes [12]. This can
help the Education Ministry in Saudi Arabia to achieve its goals in the Saudi Vision 2030.

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

In August, the Saudi Vision 2030 was announced; the role of the Education Ministry in that
vision is to contribute to the economic growth by:

4.6 Closing the gap between the outputs of higher education and the requirements of the job
market and the private sector.
4.7 Helping students settle on cautious profession choices
4.8 Aiming to have no less than five Saudi universities among the main 200 universities in
universal rankings.
4.9 Tracking progress and publish a sophisticated range of education outcomes, showing
yearly improvements.
4.10 Building a centralized student database, tracking students from early childhood
through to K-12 and beyond into tertiary education (higher and vocational) in order to
improve education planning, monitoring, evaluation, and outcomes [21].

Thus these goals can be reached by analyzing the generated big data form all universities and
other educational institutions in Saudi Arabia.

The higher education accreditation is a kind of quality assurance process for operations, services
and programs provided by educational institutions which being carried out by external bodies
such as a ministry of education, regional and international accrediting agencies to develop
educational applicable standards, assess the extent to which educational institutions meet these
standards, and grant the accreditation [22].

The National Commission for Academic Accreditation and Assessment in Saudi Arabia was
established in 2004 with responsibility for determining standards and procedures for
accreditation and quality assurance and accrediting postsecondary institutions and programs
within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Commission is an independent authority, responsible
to the Higher Council of Education. The Commission's objectives include a wide range of
functions associated with support for improvements of the quality of postsecondary education in
all fields of learning other than defense [23].

The system for quality assurance and accreditation is designed to support continuing quality
improvement and to publicly recognize programs and institutions that meet required quality

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

standards. The objective is to ensure good international standards in all post-secondary

institutions and in all programs offered in Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, in Saudi Arabia, the applications of big data analytics for higher education are in
its very preliminary stage according to studies. For example:

4.11 Big data analytics are being introduced to education to increase the numbers of
local students joining further education, and to benchmark the performance of schools
and universities as mentioned by Sutton[24].
4.12 A cloud and big data analysis based framework was presented for overall quality
improvement in higher education. This framework works as recommender system and
suggests the changes in the course scheme and syllabus. It used the examination results
and feedback of various stack holders for proposing the changes in subject scheme in a
semester or year and the syllabus of some subjects. These proposed changes in subjects
and syllabus will ultimately results in overall learning experience of students and leads to
a successful future [25].

4.13 Big data analytics is helping the Saudi government to make the links between the
skills that they will need for the economy of the future and how that translates into
programs and opportunities. They are working with the consulting company Deloitte, a
company that is specialized in helping people to find employment instead of taking social
welfare, as part of Saudi’s TAQAT program. According to Julie Mercer, partner, Global
Industry Lead, Education Consulting, Deloitte they are intending to “create an
environment and a curriculum and an ambition that will support broader political,
economic and social development in a challenging world,” she said [24].

5. Challenges:

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

There are various expected complications related with the execution of

analytic techniques of big data in higher education in Saudi Arabia. These challenges lie in skills,
culture, and government.

Leaders confront a technical and management skills gap. Several technology leaders who were
interviewed mentioned a skills gap which is the largest big data issue for Higher Education
institutions in SA. This is not surprising, given the fact that the majority of big data and
advanced analytics educational opportunities are in the West. One interview also noted gaps in
the typical senior technology manager’s understanding of big data and advanced analytics as a
problem. The Education Ministry and the government must empower its institutions employees
through training and help educational institutions to use data to improve regional profitability
and stockholders engagement [25].

Vendors must adapt technology to Arabic. Much of big data analytics involves making sense of
unstructured text and analytics, such as using call center notes or agent notes to diagnose and fix
customer problems. But according to Dr. Salah Alnajem, Associate Professor of Computational
Linguistics and Natural Language Processing at Kuwait University and founder and CEO of
Information Age for I.T. Consultations, vendors are just starting to adapt text analytics and
natural language processing to work with Arabic [27].

5.1 Security Issues The empirical findings indicate that the security is one of the key issues
that should be considered when implementing big data in higher education for
accreditation in Saudi universities. The interviews revealed the introduction of big data
in accreditation significantly increases security concerns. These concerns are related to
storage, management, and processing issues. The inflow of big amount of data from
numerous sources increases an extra burden on storing, processing, and communication.
These security concerns stemmed from the external data sources such as social media
which represents an unregulated accumulation of data and biggest threat source to data
security in terms of accessibility, accuracy, dissemination of data. Thus, traditional
security solutions are not useful to use in diverse and big data sets which requires
adoption of more advanced security models [22].

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

Security and privacy issues represent extra test to implementing of big data in higher
education. As of now, techniques suchas disaster recovery plans, strong password policy,
firewalls, encryption and anti-virus software that lower the dangers of losing or
controlling big data are yet being explored. Besides, dangers and security measures for
data protection and privacy are yet missing in many foundations of higher education

5.2 Preserving Privacy is another key concern about implementation of big data in higher
education accreditation in Saudi universities that need to be considered. The study
findings show that the privacy in big data for higher education accreditation in Saudi
universities involves many concerns such as protection of personal data of users,
intellectual property rights, and government documents that may be leaked during data
acquisition and storage. Big data must be governed by laws and regulations that protect
data privacy and enhance the compliance with confidentiality and intellectual property
rights [22].

5.3 Analytical Skills Having analytical skills among users of big data analytics is an
important aspect for higher education accreditation in Saudi universities. These skills
include knowledge and competence in handling big amount of data, which would result
in an effective data analytics and extract maximum value from big data. The Big data
provider added to promote analytical skills among users can be carried out through
holding training coursework.

5.4 IT Infrastructure The big data creates a new challenges for IT infrastructure for both of
hardware and software in the universities necessary to generate, collect, store and
analyze data. The analysis proves that the BD deals with thousands clusters and nodes of
data which require high storage capacity, HPC systems, high internet speeds and
computing power necessary to manage the data, analysis and user queries. This may
increase the spending universities on further IT investment to be compatible with BD
requirements. However, it was indicated that cloud computing provides an ideal solution

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

to avoid such challenges of IT infrastructure and reduce the costs of the long-established
infrastructure [22].
5.5 Top management Support Many studies show that top management plays a vital role in
any big data analytics innovations. The findings of the study revealed that the top
management support is an imperative aspect which plays a critical role in adoption and
implementation of big data in higher education accreditation in Saudi universities. Senior
management support was detected in the form of financial resource allocation, awareness
and serious desire to adopt big data, giving administrative approvals, encourage
collaborative information-sharing projects with other universities.

5.6 Collaborative Information-Sharing Projects The Collaborative Information-sharing

projects (CISP) is one of important aspects for big data in higher education accreditation
in Saudi universities. It refers to exchange information amongst universities at national,
regional and international levels. The (CISP) can offer an opportunity for data
integration, generate massive data sets that may be useful to big data analytics to develop
benchmarks for higher education accreditation. Moreover, the (CISP) improve the
collaboration at national and international level to standardization the accreditation
criteria, aligning the objectives, increase accessibility to more relevant information in
timely manner which provide wide platform of information that can be analyzed using
big data analytics to improve higher education quality.
Analytical skills and the collaborative information sharing projects are new difficulties in
Saudi universities some of these incorporate difficulties related with inspiring clients to
acknowledge big data as a course to adopt new procedures and change administration.
There is likewise a huge cost related with gathering, putting away and creating
calculations to mine information, a procedure that have a tendency to be tedious and
complex. Moreover, the majority of institutional information frameworks are not
interoperable, so gathering administrative data, classroom and online data can represent
extra challenges [27].

5.7 By expanding collaborative projects on big data activities, help initiatives of all groups
to take ownership of the challenge involving student performance and persistence. The

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

practice with regards to learning analysis ought to be straightforward and adaptable to

make it available to educators [28]. Although, there is as yet a divide between those who
know how to mine data and what data are accessible, and those who realize what data are
required and how it would best be utilized, all which make coordinated effort difficult

5.8 Processing Distributed Data Besides, data integration challenges are popular,
particularly where information come in both structured and unstructured organizations
and should have been incorporated from different sources most of
which are stored in systems managed by different departments. . Moreover, data
cleansing when performing integration of structured and unstructured data is probably
going to result to loss of data. There are likewise challenges related with
quality of data gathered and conveyed. Absence of
standardized measures and indicators make inter(national) correlation troublesome, as
the nature of information produced from big data is absolutely reliant on the quality of
data gathered and the strength of the measures utilized.

5.9 Fully Informed Consent with ethical policies and codes of practice governing the
utilization of student data to successfully address student privacy, data security and
consent. Specifically, in introducing learning analytics, higher education institutions
must seek fully informed consent from their students to use their personal and learning
data in analytics – and that permission must be again obtained when incorporating new
data into the system or using existing data differently. In conclusion the higher education
can lead the way in data collection, use and optimization provided this is done with
student consent and robust safeguards.

5.10 Skills Update a recommendation for institutions to review their internal data
management approaches and ensure their data fits the purposes for which it was
intended. They should ensure the digital agenda is being led at an appropriate level.
Teaching and administrative staff must be equipped with the necessary skills to perform

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

their roles in a digital, data-driven world. Staff should be provided with appropriate
training and support to improve their digital capability and data management skills.

6. Conclusions:

Saudi Arabia ranks 46th out of 138 countries according to the Global Competitiveness Index
2016-2017, mainly due to its need to improve primary and higher education and the lack of
innovation and technical readiness [30].

In the era of plenteous data, higher education institutions like business, government or healthcare
organizations share some of the similar motives for embracing analytics, particularly in the areas
of financial efficiency; Expanding local and global impact; Addressing new funding models
during a changing in the economic climate; and reacting to the requests for more prominent
accountability [12].

Inside organizations of higher education, data are mounting, however a large portion of it is
scattered crosswise over desktops, divisions and come in different formats, making it hard to
retrieve or consolidate. Consolidated data from different sources over an institution give a
better foundation to settling on better decisions related to key business and technical needs,
reducing redundancies and waste of precious time retrieving data from multiple sources. At the
end of the day, data warehousing can be a compelling way to reveal the
value of big data in higher education.

Work is in progress, investigating data management and governance structures that are
associated with big data in higher education. In addition, a set of diagnostic tools and an
integrated technology will enhance data analytic framework then
a data warehouse for big data analytics is being sought after. Future work will include
distinguishing and setting up policies that indicate who is responsible for different parts or
aspects of institutional data and information, including its accuracy, accessibility, consistency,
completeness and maintenance. Describing the concepts of processing to how data and
information are stored, archived, backed up and protected. As well as developing standards and
procedures that define how the data and information are utilized by authorized staff,
implement a set of audit, and control procedures to guarantee continuous consistency with

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

governmental regulations and industrial standards. As this is a theoretical review and quantitative
research paper for the subject topic, we would recommend a deep research in future interrelated
with survey, system integration and testing.

In Saudi Arabia, the power of data analytics will produce useful information to understand the
student body, what motivates them, how the Higher Education Institutions can develop programs
and create an aura around going to university that is attractive and means something in the local
context. Big Data analytics can help Universities to understand current performance and adjust
any shortfalls, and also to develop programs that align students with the fast-paced requirements
of the changing digital economy. Analytics can be deployed to create education programs that
match skills, and also attitudes and behaviors, with the needs of the workplace [24].

Speaking in Jeddah at ASTD MENA 2014, the premier training and development event in the
region, Jenny Dearborn who is The Chief Learning Officer at SAP said that “Big Data and
disruptive technologies can be game-changers for businesses in Saudi Arabia when it comes to
training and education, and with big data and predictive analytics there is no longer any excuse
for not connecting learning to business-impact metrics” [31].

The Saudi Arabia government and educational institutions intent on pursuing Big Bata Analytics
will fully succeed only if they can get beyond big data talk and become insight-driven. Only
digital insight — that is, new knowledge from data, tested for value and implemented in software
— will create the action that stockholders expect when you talk about big data. The government
will go beyond big data by building insight platforms, standing up insight teams, and deploying
digital insights into processes and application software.


We would like to appreciate and thanks to the continuous support provided by Computer Science
& Medical Informatics, course faculties, Head of the Basic Science Department, and last but not
the least our family members and friends.

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017


[1] Leydesdorr, Loet, and Henry Etzkowitz. "The Transformation of University-industry-

government Relations." Electronic Journal of Sociology (2001): 1-17.Web. 29 May

[2] Mok, Ka Ho. "Fostering Entrepreneurship: Changing Role of Government and Higher
Education Governance in Hong Kong." Research Policy 34.4 (2005): 537-54.Web.

[3] Economist Intelligence unit. "The Future of Higher Education: How Technology Will
Shape Learning." The New Media Consortium, 2008. Web. 2014.

[4] Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor, and Kenneth Cukier. Big data: A revolution that will
transform how we live, work, and think. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

[5] Find the key to the future [EB/OL] People’s

Daily, 95497.html 2013-

[6] TU ZIPEI. Big data: Data revolution is coming [M].NANNING: Guangxi Normal
University press, 2012,pp57.

[7] Gantz, John, and David Reinsel. "Extracting value from chaos." IDC iview1142.2011
(2011): 1-12.

[8] "Big Data." Big Data - Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 28 May 2017. Web. 29 May 2017.

[9] Ylijoki, Ossi, and Jari Porras. "Perspectives to definition of big data: a mapping study
and discussion." Journal of Innovation Management 4.1 (2016): 69-91.

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

[10] Buller, Alicia. "Saudi Arabia Turns To Big Data To Boost Business
Innovation."ComputerWeekly (2016): n. pag. Web. 29 May 2017.

[11] Site Designed and Built by Hydrant ( "Higher

Education in Saudi Arabia Collaborating with Industry in Research." Oxford Business
Group. OXFORD BUSINESS GROUR, 25 Jan. 2017. Web. 29 May 2017.

[12] Daniel, Ben. "Big data and analytics in higher education: Opportunities and
challenges." British journal of educational technology 46.5 (2014): 904-920. Web. 29
May 2017.

[13] Farokhmehr, Maryam, and Seyed Omid Fatemi. "Implementing Machine

Learning on a big Data Engine for e-Learning." European Conference on e-Learning.
Academic Conferences International Limited, 2016.

[14] Morabito, Vincenzo. Big data and analytics: strategic and organizational
impacts. Springer, 2015.

[15] Siemens, George, and Phil Long. "Penetrating the fog: Analytics in learning and
education." EDUCAUSE review 46.5 (2011): 30.

[16] Prinsloo, Paul, et al. "Big (ger) data as better data in open distance learning." The
International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 16.1 (2015).

[17] Shacklock, Xanthe. From Bricks to Clicks: The Potential of Data and Analytics in
Higher Education. Higher Education Commission, 2016.

[18] Schwab, K., et al. The Global Competitiveness Report 2014–2015. Report of the
World Economic Forum. ISBN 978-92-95044-98-2, 2014.

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

[19] Nunn, Sandra, et al. "Learning analytics methods, benefits, and challenges in
higher education: A systematic literature review." Online Learning 20.2 (2016).

[20] Meng, Liang-qiu, and Liang-qiu Meng. "Application of Big Data in Higher
Education." (2014).

[21] "Thriving Economy Rewarding Opportunities." Rewarding Opportunities I

Saudi Vision 2030. Saudi Vision 2030, n.d. Web. 29 May 2017.

[22] Ahmed, Arwa Ibrahim. "Big Data for Accreditation: A Case Study of Saudi
Universities." Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology 91.1 (2016):
[23] "Handbook for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Saudi Arabia Part 1."
National Commission for Academic Accreditation & Assessment (2015): n. pag.
National Commission for Academic Accreditation & Assessment, Oct. 2015. Web. 29

[24] Sutton, Mark. "Analytics sets directions in education.”, 2 Apr.
2016. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

[25] Ahmed, Shakeel, and Hemant Kumar Mehta. "On Applying Big Data and Cloud
Computing for Quality Improvement in Higher Education." Proc. of Int'l Cont. on
Advances in Big Data Analytics. N.p., n.d. Web.

[26] Hopkins, Brian. "How The GCC Can use Big Data To Be More Competitive."
The Gulf Cooperative Council's Big Data Opportunity (2015): n. pag. Forrester
Research. Web. 29 May 2017.

[27] Daniel, Ben Kei, and Russell Butson. "Technology Enhanced Analytics (TEA) in
Higher Education." International Association for Development of the Information
Society (2013).

ISSN 1947-5500
International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security (IJCSIS),
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2017

[28] Dringus, Laurie P. "Learning analytics considered harmful." Journal of

Asynchronous Learning Networks 16.3 (2012): 87-100.

[29] Wagner, Ellen, and Phil Ice. "Data changes everything: Delivering on the promise
of learning analytics in higher education." Educause Review 47.4 (2012): 32.

[30] Sala-i-Martin, Xavier. The Global Competitiveness Report 2016—2017. Rep. Ed.
Klaus Schwab. World Economic Forum, 2016. Web. 29 May 2017.

[31] " SAP News. "Big Data and Disruptive Technologies Can Be "Game-changers"
tor Employee Training in Saudi Arabia." SAP. SAP MENA Press Room, 10 Mar. 2014.
Web. 29 May 2017.

ISSN 1947-5500
View publication stats