Author(s)： Ke Ming, Lu Mengxing
From the perspectives of the innovation of teaching methods and the kind of thinking ability that the society in the future may require, this article explores the prospect of reform of pedagogy in colleges and universities in the new big-data era. After discussing the demand of the information- based teaching platform, the article designs an innovative teaching platform to help teachers to change old and backward teaching methods.
1. Definitions of the Big Data
The topic of the big data has attracted people from all walks of life. Various research organizations and companies have attempted to define the big data (BD henceforward). Wikipedia defined BD as “an all-encompassing term for any collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using traditional data processing applications.”1 And Gartner defined BD as the diversification of information assets with the need to deal with the new model and high rate of growth (Douglas, 2012). Both definitions differentiated BD, the VLDB (very large database), and XLDB (extremely large database). The current mainstream software has been unable to deal with BD effectively. The use of new technology is desperately desired.
In June 2011, McKinsey released a detailed report on BD: “Big Data: the next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity” (Manyika et al., 2011). In the report, the influence of BD, relevant key technology, and application range and so on are described in detail. In January 2012, BD became one of the themes of Davos World Economic Forum, which released a report: “Big data, Big impact: New Possibilities for international development.” 2 The report discussed how to utilize the existing huge amount of data services to improve our contemporary society. Since then, BD has attracted the attention of global governments. In March 2012, the Obama administration declared to invest more than $200 million on the official launch of “big data development plan”, with the aim to study how to make best use of BD technology in areas such as scientific research, environment production, and biomedical breakthroughs. This plan has been identified as “the information highway plan” of US government after another major step in the field of information science. The era of BD management has quietly come to our daily life.
With the effect of globalization, more and more Chinese scholars have paid much attention to the application of BD. They consider BD as collecting data with the size beyond the capacities of commonly used software
tools to capture, manage, and process within a tolerable amount of time. Besides, BD has been used in a wide range of different fields in China. The application in higher education will be examined below.
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