Summer of MOOC: Sabermetrics 101

As part of my (potentially quixotic) efforts to catalog every single piece of sabermetric research ever published, there is one particular resource that is of great help with identifying and categorizing the research works: college course syllabi. In recent years, a small number of colleges and universities have offered elective courses focused on sabermetrics. These courses have focused not only on studying baseball through its numbers, but also teaching some of the necessary coding and statistical skills needed to do these analyses properly.

The first of these courses I heard about was offered at Tufts University. SABR Member Andy Andres wanted to offer a course that didn’t teach statistical methods through baseball but that focused on doing the sabermetrics studies that have shaped how people understand of the game. Tufts offered an opportunity to do so through its Experimental College, and his syllabus for that course is one of the great starting points those who aspire to emulate Bill James.

Starting May 29, you don’t have to be a Tufts student to experience this course. Teaming up with Boston University, Andres is offering the latest iteration of the Tufts course to be taken by the masses via edX. I’ve signed up for it for 3 reasons:

  1. I’ve never been involved with a massively open online course (MOOC) before, so I’m interested to see how the course operates from the student perspective. (As an aside, I did do quite a bit of distance learning for my master’s degree.)
  2. Andres’ Sabermetrics 101 course is something I wish I had been able to take while I was in college. I get to do that now, even if I learn nothing new.
  3. It’ll hopefully motivate some new research that will end up on this blog.

If you haven’t signed up for it and are sitting around reading this post on Memorial Day weekend in 2014, I’ll recommend you do so. Hopefully you’ll learn a little something about sabermetrics, mathematical statistics, and coding.

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