About the Open Syllabus Project and Syllabus Explorer

The Open Syllabus Project (OSP) is pleased to make the beta version of our Syllabus Explorer publicly available.   The Explorer leverages a collection of over 1 million syllabi collected from university and departmental websites.  It provides:

  • The first version of a new publication metric (Teaching Score) based on how often texts are taught.
  • A unique course-building tool that provides information about what’s taught with what.
  • A promising means of exploring the history of fields, curricular change, and differences in teaching across institutions, states, and countries.

The Syllabus Explorer publishes only metadata (citations, dates, locations, etc) extracted from its collection via machine learning techniques.  It does not publish underlying documents or personally identifying information.

The Explorer is very much a work in progress.  As you may discover, it gets a lot of things wrong.  Fixes and improvements will be incremental.  But it also gets a lot right, and makes curricula visible and navigable in ways that we think can become valuable to authors, teachers, researchers, administrators, publishers, and students.  We hope that this beta version of the tool convinces you of that potential.

The Open Syllabus Project is, at present, a mostly volunteer effort.  There are many ways to help make the project better: by donating syllabi, by helping to line up institutional partners, by volunteering development expertise, or by contributing money if you find the project especially useful or interesting (please do. This project operates on a shoestring.)

That’s the short version.  For a longer version of how the Syllabus Explorer works and where we want to go with it, see the FAQ.


The OSP Team

January 9th, 2016 by

Open Syllabus Talk at IODC 2015

Here’s an overview of OSP progress in the last year, with previews of some of the candy we’ll be making public in the next months (from the International Open Data Conference 2015).


August 7th, 2015 by

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.

February 16th, 2015 by