University of Waikato launches free online data mining course

University of Waikato launches free online data mining course

The University of Waikato is now offering a MOOC (massive open online course) on data mining with Weka software.

The Department of Computer Science is responsible for the course, the first of its kind in New Zealand.

“The open source Weka [Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis] software was developed here at the University, and it’s been downloaded over half a million times,” says University of Waikato professor Ian Witten. “A lot of people around the world use it, so it makes sense that data mining with Weka is the topic of our first MOOC.”

Through this MOOC, the University of Waikato is making available the expert knowledge of its researchers and teaching staff in a structured online environment. Extracts from the book Data Mining: Practical Machine Learning Tools and Techniques – co-authored by Professor Witten and now in its third edition – will be made available within the course and students who pass two tests will receive a statement of completion.

A series of videos simply and clearly explain how the course will work, what students will need to complete it and what they will get at the end of it.

According to Witten, some people are considering monetising MOOCs but that is not an option the university is looking into at the moment. “For us, this is all about learning, both for students to learn about data mining and to give our own staff experience and knowledge of MOOCs.”

Witten adds that data mining –also known as machine learning – has enormous potential as big data continues to grow.
The Weka workbench, an organised collection of state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms and data preprocessing tools, has been used in a wide number of applications. It has helped determine what information dairy farmers use in deciding which cows to keep in their herd and to analyse milk production.

The Data Mining with Weka MOOC can be found at: http://weka.waikato.ac.nz.