2nd week Big Data and Relevant Data in #LAK11

25 01 2011

“Learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs. In other words it is the application of business intelligence software to learning and learners.”

Tony Bates e-learning outlook for 2011 


Big Data

Second week in #LAK11 was all about Big Data, Viplav Baxi told us in the forum, that when he thinks of Big Data, he is thinking how BIG it needs to be before it can be useful. This week’s reading on Insurers and the work done by Levitt and Dubner on Freakonomics tells us clearly that data not earlier thought relevant or causal can be an efficient predictor.

Secondly, strategies designed on BIG data (telephone usage follows a power law implies we should take out small sized recharge coupons) may overpower small data strategies (enable a community of 5 friends to communicate at lower prices).

Thirdly, BIG data also has BIG impacting factors. For example, mobile number portability has come in to India today. It will shift individual company demographics and usage data, as well as impact mobile phone usage patterns. For some BIG data, policy decisions, technological differences et al will make a vast difference. You can homogenize who-called-who-and-where-and-when but that robs the context and obscures the diversity. Similarly, BIG analytics, robbed of context, cannot predict negative reactions of a strategy which does not provide for any contingency planning.

Fourthly, actions taken on BIG data will have big consequences, perhaps rendering the initial analytics obsolete – would BIG analytics follow the Heisenberg principle?

Lastly, if everybody, big or small, started using BIG analytics, to make decisions (say on customer profiles in the XYZ insurance segment), companies would anyway lose

He continued asking about , whether Small data is beautiful and gave us some links

Big Data, Small Data

New Age of Innovation (Prahalad)

So you like Big Data

New: Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha is opening up its API for personal use. Here’s the API page and here is a link to an API explorer.

Relevant Data

I asked about Relevant Data ,QR Codes, since it seems to be the newest hype in presenting yourself. How can one accomplish to create a personal QR profile and which tools do you need to scan it?

The answers from all the experts in the forum were highly informative. We got the classical pro and contra positions. Rowan Peters  direced us to Mashable’s nice article that introduces ‘how to create and deploy your own QR codes‘ and somebody even mentioned Stehen Downes  warning.

The SNAPP exercise was indicated in the syllabus this week. But there are numerous options available 

Netdraw: http://www.analytictech.com/netdraw/netdraw.htm
Pajek: http://vlado.fmf.uni-lj.si/pub/networks/pajek/
NodeXL: http://nodexl.codeplex.com/
Netminer: http://www.netminer.com/NetMiner/home_01.jsp
Touchgraph: http://www.touchgraph.com/navigator
Gephi: http://gephi.org/
UCINet: http://www.analytictech.com/ucinet/

Bert de Coutere    uses a lookalike called SandVis that makes these kind of visual social graphs by mining the social networks in his company

New: Last.fm

What’s really interesting about this diagram is that we can see what we notmally think of as ‘genres’ of music emerge naturally as distinct clusters. To search for bands or explore in much greater detail, try the interactive map.




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