• University of Warwick

Big Data: Measuring And Predicting Human Behaviour

Join us to explore how the vast amounts of data generated today can help us understand and even predict how humans behave.

33,822 enrolled on this course

Big Data: measuring and predicting human behaviour
  • Duration

    9 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Unlock the data driven power of networked computer systems and smart cards.

Everything we do generates data, from shopping at the supermarket, riding on public transport, to phoning a friend. This data is opening up a new era for our understanding of human behaviour, policy making and business processes which depend upon this understanding. Research shows 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 may occur. 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.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Every single one of us is now generating huge amounts of data. Perhaps your smart phone rings, you check your email, you use your oyster card to travel to work, you buy some bread on the way home with your Nectar card. Every single one of these actions generates a record of what we’ve done. Big data means one very specific thing and this is how humans changed their behaviour by interacting with very large technological systems. The power of big data lies in the fact that history repeats itself. So what you did yesterday, you’ll often do tomorrow as well.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds And if you can process these huge data sets, then you can start identifying these repeating patterns and use that information to make better forecasts about what’s going to happen in the future.

Skip to 1 minute and 2 seconds During this 9 weeks course, we will showcase some very important areas like health, economics, transport, crime. And we can show you how we can access this data to process the information to visualise it and make decisions based on this. Tobias and I will also be working with you to help you gain some insight into the data that you can already get access to. And what some people don’t realise is that a lot of the top tools for doing this work are available free online. We will talk to leading exports and practitioners. And, of course, this is a MOOC. And so there’s going to be the discussion boards and thousands of other learners who you can interact with.

Skip to 1 minute and 48 seconds Big data is something which in this day and age none of us can afford not to understand. For us it’s just a gigantic ocean of information we can exploit in order to learn something about human behaviour. So Warwick Business School is really on the cutting edge of this new discipline. And we’re really excited about sharing these new insights with all of you.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • You will learn about the latest research in big data across a range of domains, including economics, crime and health.
  • This course will help you reflect on and unlock the power of these new datasets.
  • 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.

Who is the course for?

The course is designed to be accessible to all.

What software or tools do you need?

To participate in the exercises that start in Week 2 you will need to install the free software ‘R’ and ‘RStudio’. Practical skills are taught via video in a walkthrough fashion, with both video tutorial and written instructions describing and demonstrating the simple steps learners should follow. Learners will also need to make sure they have a (free) Google account to access and download raw data. These exercises are not a requirement of the course, but will provide you with knowledge needed for the tests.

Who will you learn with?

We direct the Data Science Lab at Warwick Business School. Our research investigates whether online data predicts human behaviour.

Who developed the course?

The University of Warwick

The University of Warwick is forward-looking, entrepreneurial and globally connected. With new ways of thinking and achieving it stands out from its competitors as an inspiring place to study.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control

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