Google wants to teach everyday folk to interpret data

Making sense of data

If you’ve been to a tech conference, or even just browsed through the odd tech site, then you’ve probably seen the term “Big Data” used over and over again in the past couple of years. The trouble is that the term’s made any form of data seem pretty scary and impenetrable.

Enter Google’s new massively open online course (MOOC) “Making Sense of Data“. The course, which is available from 18 March to 4 April, aims to help anyone who wants to learn more about how to structure, visualize, and manipulate data.

As is the case with most MOOCs, the course will be taught through a combination of lectures, interactive projects and community support. Anyone who completes the final piece of coursework also gets a certificate of completion.

As TechCrunch notes, the project is just one way Google is aiming to play in the MOOC space. In fact, the project was built in partnership with the MIT/Harvard MOOC project, edX, and is actually part of a larger partnership, which allows anyone to build their own online courses.

While this particular course is free — it’s mainly designed to be a promotional tool for Google’s Fusion Tables — don’t be too surprised if Google starts monetising MOOCs in the near future. At the very least there are lessons from experiments such as this one, which it will undoubtedly be able to apply to features such as Google Helpouts.



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