Monday, August 12, 2019

The Open Syllabus Project (OSP)

The Open Syllabus Project (OSP)
The Open Syllabus Project (OSP) collects and analyzes millions of syllabi to support educational research and novel teaching and learning applications.  The OSP helps instructors develop classes, libraries manage collections, and presses develop books.  It supports students and lifelong learners in their exploration of topics and fields.  It creates incentives for faculty to improve teaching materials and to use open licenses.  It supports work on aligning higher education with job market needs and on making student mobility easier.  It also challenges faculty and universities to work together to steward this important data resource.
The OSP currently has a corpus of seven million English-language syllabi from over 80 countries.  It uses machine learning and other techniques to extract citations, dates, fields, and other metadata from these documents.  The resulting data is made freely available via the Syllabus Explorer and in bulk for academic research. 
The OSP is based The American Assembly—an independent non-profit organization affiliated with Columbia University.
[ Classics and Hebrew each have a fair number of syllabi in The Open Syllabus Project]
Short answer: Please consider contributing your syllabi to the OSP collection. If you’re willing to do so, send them attached to an email to:
All shared syllabi are ‘private’ by default—they will not be available for display or download. But we are also building a public collection that we will make available for download. If you are willing to share on this basis, please put ‘public’ in the email subject line.
Longer answer: We want the Open Syllabus Project to become a way to understand higher education as a global project of transmitting knowledge from one generation to the next.  We also want it to become a tool for democratizing and defending the integrity of that project.
We need help to realize those goals.
We need the support and participation of universities—especially in the form of access to university-held syllabus archives.   If you are in a position to explore formal participation of your university in the project, send us a note.
We need the support of faculty.  Syllabus donations are always welcome via
We welcome older syllabi.  The collection is small before 2010 and inadequate for any real analysis before 2000.  We would love to be able to expand the historical reach of the Explorer.
We are also trying to expand further beyond US and anglophone schools to make the OSP a framework for curricular comparison and educational research around the world.  We will increase the linguistic coverage of the project in 2020.  For countries where the display of curricular choices can put faculty at risk, the OSP will continue to serve as a dark archive that curates–but does not display–curricular history.
Finally, the OSP is an argument for a more open curricular culture.  By showing what’s possible when curricular materials are aggregrated, we hope the OSP can contribute to building it.

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