Cracking the canon - what does the analysis of 4 million university syllabi teach us

In cooperation with the Faculty of Law

12sep2017 13.00 - 14.00


Universities mostly do two things: teach and research. It’s possible to understand the research process and its outcomes because it generates an extensive public record. Articles and books record the progress and diffusion of knowledge, methods, and ideas. In contrast, there are only a few ways to understand changes in the content or methods of teaching—either within individual schools or across fields.

The Open Syllabus Project is beginning to change that by collecting and analyzing course syllabi in very large numbers, drawn from universities around the world.  Because syllabi are very dense records of faculty thinking about teaching and fields, their analysis opens up a wide range of inquiries and applications, ranging from intellectual history to support for open educational resources to the creation of new publication metrics.  The first version of this work, the Syllabus Explorer, shows the most frequently taught texts from a collection of 1 million mostly US syllabi.  The next version of the Explorer will permit deeper analysis of the curricula across 3-4 million syllabi, with much larger internationals collections and wider coverage of texts and institutions. Joe Karaganis will discuss the project and its implications for the university ecosystem (and hopefully demo the next version).

Please note: the address of this event has changed. The new adress is: Institute for Information Law, Roeterseilandcampus, Building A, 5th floor, Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV Amsterdam

About the speakers

Joe Karaganis is vice president at The American Assembly, a public policy institute at Columbia University in New York.  Karaganis directs The Open Syllabus Project—an effort to map what’s taught at universities around the world based on the datamining of millions of university syllabi.  He is also the editor of Media Piracy in Emerging Economies and the forthcoming Shadow Libraries: Access to Educational Materials in the Digital Age—a multi-country study of how students get the materials they need.

Balázs Bodó (moderator) is a socio-legal researcher at the Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam. His work explores the social and legal construction of Internet technologies. In his research he explores the role that emerging social practices of media production, distribution and consumption play in the wider cultural ecosystem. 


You can sign up for this program for free. If you subscribe for the program we count on your presence. If you are unable to attend, please let us know via | T: +31 (0)20 525 8142.


  • Roeterseilandcampus - building A

    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166 | 1018 WV Amsterdam
    +31 (0)20 525 5340

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Gepubliceerd door  Spui25