Catholic Education Office – A Lesson in Big Data Online

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Catholic Education Office

To fulfil its role in providing support for 56 schools in NSW and the ACT, it is essential that the Catholic Education Office Canberra uses technology to its advantage. With many aspects – such as data collection, analysis and reporting – performed manually, access to information used to be limited and time-consuming. One of the CEO’s core beliefs, though, is that it serves to promote and embrace a critical analysis of social issues, the expansion of knowledge and the pursuit of truth. Promoting greater understanding through use of available data resources was seen as an important focus.

Three years ago CEO decided to completely change the way in which schools accessed data. Their vision was to enable students, teachers, principals and support staff to readily access the most up-to-date information, selecting for themselves the most relevant options from the CEO’s vast data assets. Moreover, they wanted to be able to produce results from their queries that they could readily understand, something especially challenging with the complex range of non-intuitive products and tools they had at that time.

Because the reports being produced were created manually, there was no real opportunity to perform further queries without starting from scratch – something often far too time-consuming to even contemplate. Output formats were restricted and web presence was limited. After reviewing the options, CEO management turned to SuperWEB from Space-Time Research.

SuperWEB gave CEO a clear choice to explore, build and visualise that data in a way that would offer enormous insight and help CEO to make better supported decisions.

“The Catholic Education Office saw the opportunity to drive greater value from their data resources. SuperWEB was a clear choice to explore, build and visualise that data in a way that would offer enormous insight and help CEO to make better supported decisions,” said Steve Hulse, Space-Time Research Chief Executive Officer.SuperWEB was a clear choice to explore, build and visualise that data in a way that would offer enormous insight and help CEO to make better supported decisions.

The Space-Time Research team worked closely with CEO, listened carefully to their objectives and assessed the environment so that the transition would happen smoothly. SuperWEB provides self-service data exploration on the internet and visualisations all within the preferred browser. Users could then perform ad-hoc tabulation, defining and re-defining their own queries to uncover exactly the information they seek by easily selecting the preferred dataset. Results can be easily shared online or in a number of popular formats.

The speed and functionality of SuperWEB were especially important factors behind CEO’s choice. Access can, of course, be controlled to meet the CEO’s stringent requirements and Space-Time Research’s leading confidentialisation options offer superior protection of individual data records.

Implementation was both rapid and simple, with benefits immediately apparent. Users have the convenience of researching the information they need 24/7, and results are available immediately without seeking IT support. As a result, an enormous burden has been lifted from the IT team, freeing their time to focus on new innovations in education.

– Issued May 2013.  This is an independent case study of Space-Time Research.