What will you learn?
We increasingly rely on networked computer systems and smart cards to support our everyday activities, and everything we do generates data – whether buying bread at the supermarket, taking a ride on public transport, or calling a friend for a chat.
This data is opening up a new era for our understanding of human behaviour – and also for policy making and business processes which depend upon this understanding. Research has shown how data can give us insight into the risk of an upcoming stock market crash; decrease delays in measuring the spread of illness; or even allow us to predict where crimes might occur.
This course will help you understand and unlock the power of these new datasets. You will gain an overview of the state of the art in big data research across a range of domains, including economics, crime and health.
You will also acquire some basic practical skills for data science using, learning to write basic programs in R, create basic data visualisations and carry out simple analyses. By the end of the course, you will be able to find out and analyse what people have been looking for on Google and Wikipedia.
Each week there will be videos to watch and, if you’re interested, articles to read. There will be opportunities to engage your fellow learners in the discussion activities, where we will provide a topic for investigation or discussion, and the ability to interact through the discussion.
At the ‘half-way’ point in the course, Week 5, we will pause and give you time to reflect on what you have heard and read so far. We also have something a little different for you to try. By playing a game where you rate photographs, you will have a chance to explore London and help crowdsource data to build on a recent study we carried out, which suggests that people who live in more scenic locations report themselves to be healthier.