Did the polls and data journalists get it wrong?

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On Wednesday, November 2nd, the Chicago Cubs proved that anyone can come back and win on the world’s biggest stage. That following Tuesday, November 8th, Donald Trump did what was also thought to be impossible, by becoming the 45th president of the United States.

As election day got closer and closer, the media, and therefore the public, depended more and more on polling predictions and data visualization, often using digital savvy maps and charts to illustrate the many winning paths Hillary Clinton had, and the many obstacles Trump would have to face. It was safe to say that there was an overwhelming consensus amongst pollsters and data journalists that Hillary Clinton would emerge victorious Tuesday night.However, what was supposed to be a relatively early election night, ended up being a late night apocalypse, leaving people across the country wondering, how the hell did this happen? Continue reading

Big data analytics met with skepticism & hope

Late last month Marist College was featured in The Wall Street Journal for its development and usage of data software that utilizes predictive analytics to calculate if a student will fail within the first three weeks of a semester. As of now the analytic software, which was developed under the leadership of CIO Bill Thirsk and the School of Computer Science & Mathematics, is implemented only in the School of Management’s 100% Online Master of Public Administration program but Thirsk notes that this program will expand to more academic schools in the future. While this technological innovation provided Marist with a little media prestige, the implications of data insight leaves students and faculty questioning the shift to what may be perceived as a colder, more impersonal academic technique.

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