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  3. Understanding Big Data for Public Policy

Understanding Big Data for Public Policy (PPMN90055)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Overview

Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codePPMN90055
Campus
Parkville
Availability
August
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Policy makers need to under what big data is, how it is used, and what ethical and practical issues using big data to make decisions will raise in the 21st Century. They do not need to be programmers. They need to understand, at a high level, the issues involved in using big data for public policy, for the generation of public value.

At the core of this subject is one question: Will decision-making based on standardized measurements from large databases become superior to judgment based upon personal experience and expertise? Decisions based on big data are useful when the experience of any single policy maker is likely to be too limited to develop an intuitive feel for, or reliable measure, of a policy’s efficacy. Statistical analysis can sometimes discover neglected characteristics of a population are more significant than is recognized by intuitive understanding based on accumulated experience. But sometimes, big data—high volume, high velocity, qualitatively various—produces more problems for public policy makers than it solves.

This subject explores all of these important issues, from the basic definitions and history of big data to examples of the use, and misuse, of big data in public policy. No programming knowledge is assumed or required, and none will be taught. The issues for public sector managers raised by this course will be debated and understood using case studies.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Understand the history and definition of big data as it applies to public policy
  • Recognise the main types of learning models used to derive insights from big data
  • Become familiar with the sources of big data in public policy, and
  • Grasp the legal and ethical issues involved in using big data for the generation of value for the public.

Generic skills

  • A student who has successfully completed this subject will: • Understand the history and definition of big data as it applies to public policy • Recognise the main types of learning models used to derive insights from big data • Become familiar with the sources of big data in public policy, and • Grasp the legal and ethical issues involved in using big data for the generation of value for the public.

Last updated: 3 April 2019