Warwick launches Big Data MOOC

A new MOOC from Warwick Business School will explain how to get to grips with the mass of ‘digital traces’ we are leaving behind

The free online course, Big Data: Measuring and Predicting Human Behaviour, is being run by big data experts Suzy Moat, Assistant Professor of Behavioural Science and Tobias Preis, Associate Professor of Behavioural Science & Finance, who revealed how Google searches can predict stock market movements

From buying a loaf of bread, to using an Oyster card, a huge volume of digital data is being generated by many of our everyday actions. The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) reveals how across areas as diverse as economics, crime and health, these datasets offer new opportunities to help us understand human behaviour.

As Dr Preis explains: “Our smartphones and computers have become a central part of our everyday lives. Every time we pick up the phone or search for something on Google, we leave behind data describing who we’re talking to, what information we’re looking for, and much more.

‘We’ve put this course together to help people understand the kinds of data our everyday actions are now generating. Crucially, we’ll be talking about how these new datasets can help us better measure how people behave, and possibly even predict what they will do in the future.

“We have introductory sessions on the value of big data in understanding behaviour across domains such as economics and health, guest lectures from a range of top scientists in this field, and a course for complete beginners on how to find out what people are searching for on Google and Wikipedia.” 

Participants will spend four hours a week learning about how big data is being used in the world today, as well as picking up some basic practical skills for mining data on online behaviour, in the freely available and widely used programming language ‘R’.

The course is free of charge and starts on April 20. It lasts for nine weeks in total. Register for the course on the FutureLearn website here.

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