Open Syllabus Project

About

logo

The Open Syllabus Project (OSP) is building the first large-scale online database of university course syllabi as a platform for new research, teaching, and administrative tools.

We hope the OSP will improve our understanding of teaching, publishing, and intellectual history on a wide range of fronts, such as:

What are the most taught texts? How have fields changed? How do schools or departments within a field differ from one another? What is the demand for Open Access materials?

Because policies and norms around syllabus ownership vary, the OSP won’t publish syllabi without permission. The public side of the OSP will be a collection of tools for analyzing metadata extracted from the documents. We will also, in the course of this work, advocate for stronger open-access policies for syllabi.

We’re still building the community of interest in the project and would welcome help in four broad areas: access to collections of syllabi, tools development, relationships with libraries and archives, and exploration of the research potential of the database.

A Syllabus in the news

The untimely death of David Carr, the New York Times‘s much-loved and -respected media columnist, has sparked interest in an appropriately sharp question: what did he do to earn so much esteem? One of those things was teaching, and one of his recent syllabi cropped up — on Medium, of all places. The Times has a thinkpiece on it, and Molly Wright Steenson has written another. Carr’s syllabus is smart, personal, and indicative of how quickly and completely syllabi are changing.