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Sharing best practice to make the most of big data


By Phil Richards, Chief Innovation Officer, Jisc.

So far perhaps big data and analytics are not shaping a wiser society: the way many people experience analytics is when they see personalised adverts for things they have just bought, and are not likely to want to buy again so soon! By analogy, using analytics to present more online resources for things that have just been learnt is not so useful, but as the predictive nature of analytics gets smarter — so that people are presented with what they want to buy next, or learn next — then I think that will assist a wiser society.

From our point of view, Jisc’s traditional strengths lie at each end of the modern digital stack: at one end, our data traversing Janet network, helping world-class research and discoveries such as the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in CERN; at the other, modern digital content, data and metadata around academic publications and online learning materials.

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About the Question
Are Big Data & Analytics shaping a smarter society?

Every day we generate a huge amount of big data, but we need to resort to analytics to make abstract information meaningful and get valuable knowledge from it. In education, learning platforms let us easily gather an immense quantity of data regarding students’ behaviour, interactions, preferences and opinions. When properly analysed — through learning analytics — all these data might provide useful insight on how to make learning processes more adaptive, attractive and efficient.

Are these techniques allowing us to provide better support to our students? Are we taking advantage of big data and analytics to help shape the citizens of the future?

Big Data and Simheuristics