New ‘Teaching Score’ Measures How Often Texts are Taught

1 MILLION SYLLABUSES: That’s the size of the Open Syllabus Project, an online database of university course syllabuses. Its creators say aggregating this information and making it searchable has valuable lessons for teaching, publishing and intellectual history. They launched a tool, called Syllabus Explorer, to let users search metadata from these documents--dates, schools, fields of study and assigned texts.

The team behind OPS says the data also gives instructors a new metric: a “teaching score,” which shows how widely their works are being taught, rather than cited in other publications. “Teaching captures a very different set of judgments about what is important than publication does. In particular, it accords more value to qualities that are useful in the classroom, like accessibility and clarity,” OPS Project Director Joe Karaganis and Lead Developer David McClure write in the New York Times.

Fun fact: the No. 1 assigned title? Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style.” 

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