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Getting Back to the Classroom: The Role of Data Analytics

Main Stage

Programming Sponsor: SAS Institute

Programming Partner: Concordia Action Alliance



  • Focusing on how people can safely return to their normal lives, including students, Shaun Barry examined the factors that are at play when it comes to reassimilating. With some students needing face-to-face learning experiences, colleges are using the analytics of contact tracing in order to keep people safe. Remaining fairly manual, contact tracing is a paper-based process, and oftentimes the process is slow, especially in terms of COVID-19. 
  • Discussing his experience at the University of North Texas, James Simon acknowledged the size of the large school, and its decision to launch an analytics program. The campus has altered its data landscape, allowing for much easier conversations. 

“Speed saves lives,” Shaun Barry

  • In March, technology was utilized to help solve problems. Making information readily available as fast as possible, Classroom Utilization allows the contact tracing team to access a student’s schedule as well as all those students that are in the same classes. This can lead to faster notification and mitigation responses. 
  • In regards to having students, faculty, and staff return to campus, the ability to have layered defenses put executives at some ease. However, Simon remarked that if this pandemic occurred five years ago, the campus would not have been in nearly as strong of a position to have people return. Making a conscious effort to mature the data landscape, ultimately the goal is to be proactive versus reactive.

“We assume a collaborative approach with country health officials because we know we are partners in the fight against the virus,” Jason Simon


Key takeaways & next steps:

  • With more schools issuing contacting tracing through analytics, a safer society can emerge.


Session Speakers