Big Data's Arrival

Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, Feb 01, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

According to this report, "Researchers have created a database that measures 33 variables for the online coursework of 640,000 students – a whopping 3 million course-level records." Actually, 3 million records isn't a lot - wait until we start dealing with 3 billion records, or 3 trillion records. These are already the case in other fields (such as medicine) and are just around the corner in e-learning. But more - this case describes records created by students in a single system, which is really inadequate for the purpose of research or analytics. What you want is to be able to collect records from everywhere, and amalgamate them. Ah - but who will be the first to start sharing big data?
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