What we can learn about sociology from a collection of course syllabi.

The Open Syllabus Project (OSP) is an initiative that has collected and mapped over one million syllabi from college-level courses. Joe Karaganis and David McClure explain the project in this New York Times piece, and the website offers more detail about the project’s methodology, including their Teaching Score criteria.

In January 2016, the OSP launched the Open Syllabus Explorer, which ranks the texts in terms of the frequency with which they are taught, and allows exploration of the corpus on the basis of author’s name, title, course subject, and host school. It’s also quite easy for users to extract data from searches of the Open Syllabus Explorer. I was intrigued by Andrew Higgins’ analysis of philosophy texts ranked in the OSP, so I thought I’d try something similar. I extracted the metadata and rankings for the top 500 sociology* texts. …


Kristin Thomson

social researcher and organizer @kristinthomson

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