by Stephen Downes
Jan 15, 2016
Targeted Learning in Healthcare Research
This article is focused on the big data in electronic health records and claims data sets being put to secondary use in studying questions of drug safety and efficacy, but it applies equally to learning analytics. The idea of 'targeted learning' is to draw from machine learning algorithms (which would be engaged in pattern matching and cluster detection, for example) which do not use parameters ("these avoid model misspecification bias by making no distributional assumptions") but to supplement it with targeted parameters to answer specific questions from the data. The article is fairle accessible and discusses methodologies and applications in a relatively short 8 page PDF. View more from this special issue of Big data on healthcare and data. See also Mining the Quantified Self, which is really an excellent overview of the needs and challenges facing personal data analytics. (Note: I have full access to these in my office; if they're subscription-based, please accept my apologies).
The e-health literacy framework: A conceptual framework for characterizing e-health users and their interaction with e-health systems
Ole Norgaard, Dorthe Furstrand, Louise Klokker, Astrid Karnoe, Roy Batterham, Lars Kayser, Richard H. Osborne,
Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal,
This is a paper from a special issue on e-health literacy. I think defining a framework (20 page PDF) for the topic is a good idea, but I'm not convinced that the following characterization is as useful as it could be: "Seven domains were identified: 1. Ability to process information, 2. Engagement in own health, 3. Ability to engage actively with digital services, 4. Feeling safe and in control, 5. Motivation to engage with digital services, 6. Having access to systems that work, and 7. Digital services that suit individual needs." The first three might be literacies; the last four definitely are not. But it seems (to judge by the literature review) that there has been a bit of a drift in the field regarding what constitutes a literacy. I think the concept map (pictured) from the first workshop held with professionals is probably a better model. But it's a good discussion overall and should help inform wider conversation around the concept of literacy generally.
Interview: Stolen, the problematic app that lets you buy and sell people on Twitter
I remember there was once an application called BlogTrader or something like that where you could buy and sell 'shares' in blogs and websites in a fictional stock exchange. This current site is a bit like that, only much more annoying (and as of this morning, has been closed down). In this case, the commodity is Tritter profiles, and they are 'owned' with or without the permission of the profile owner, and the application allows the 'owner' to post messages on the Twitter account. The original BlogTrader was soon dominated by bottom-feeding trading consortia who manipulated the market to make themselves rich, and made generally useless. In this case, the accounts are being 'stolen' (or 'bought', or whatever) by spammers and trolls and other internet lowlife.
Big Data as a Service: the Next Big Thing?
We are already working with the idea of big data as a service in the LPSS project, so I can easily see it becoming something more widely available in the future. But it's not just data in the cloud; it's tools as well. "In general, Big Data as a service will offer various kinds of data analytics. For example, a company could use it to monitor a large SEO or Web content campaign that reaches a broad audience. In a BDaaS model, these services will commonly be offered over the Internet with key vendor storage and functionality tools located in the cloud."
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