A tablet for every freshman is creating a big data university

AUSTIN, TEX. –Southern Illinois University had student recruitment and retention in mind when ti decided to move towards a digital curriculum and issue every incoming freshman this year a Windows 8 tablet. Already though, the university is beginning to realize another potential benefit from the digital move: big data.

Speaking on a Dell customer panel on the eve of the vendor’s Dell World conference here on Tuesday, David Crain, assistant provost and CIO at Southern Illinois University, discussed how with a progressive new chancellor the university of some 20,000 students has decided to embrace technology. Crain was hired as the university’s first CIO with a mandate to make Southern Illinois a leader in higher education technology, and this year he oversaw an ambitious project: every incoming freshman student – all 2800 of them – along with some 400 faculty that teach freshman courses were each issued a Dell Latitude 10 tablet running Windows 8.

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