fun with moocs: i “heart” stats

As many of you already know, I am leaving Notre Dame to become the provost at Marquette University in a couple of months.  I am really excited to get started there, but I have a couple of things to finish up here on the home front as well.  One of them is that I will be teaching Notre Dame’s first “MOOC”, which is supposed to be a super fun introduction to statistics.  Below is the trailer for the course, which I’m sure you’ll find entertaining.  It completely embodies my approach to teaching this course…You’ll have to decided, after watching it, if (a) Notre Dame will be glad to see me go, (b) anyone will learn anything from the course, or (c) if I will win an online-learning-Oscar (I’d call it a MOOCie) in the category of best overacting!

Oh, and you can sign up here if you want to actually take it!

poll bias

With all the poll watching that goes on in elections these days, the question of how accurate the polls are has become more interesting (to me at least).  I’ve been informally tracking the question of whether certain polling outfits tend toward liberal or conservative bias for quite some time.  To be clear I’m not accusing any particular polling operation of purposeful bias, but rather just calling into question whether their methods (particularly of sampling, weighting, collecting data, and especially constructing likely-voter models) trend one way or another.  In the case of the battleground areas, at least, that the pollsters–as a group–missed the mark is not a huge surprise, but the consistency in the pattern of that miss Continue reading “poll bias”

yet another blog?

I know you’ve all been just dying for another blog to read, haven’t you?  Well, I’m here to satisfy!

Today marks the the public launch of Mobilizing Ideas, a new scholarly (or perhaps pseudo-scholarly!) blog concerned with activism, social movements, protests, and the like.  The blog consists of two sections: a monthly set of invited essays on a particular Continue reading “yet another blog?”

for your consideration: the journal of universal rejection

About the Journal | Instructions for Authors | Subscriptions | Archives

Editor-in-Chief: Caleb Emmons

About the Journal
The founding principle of the Journal of Universal Rejection (JofUR) is rejection. Universal rejection. That is to say, all submissions, regardless of quality, will be rejected. Despite that apparent drawback, here are a number of reasons you may choose to submit to the JofUR: Continue reading “for your consideration: the journal of universal rejection”

frances fox piven under attack

January 24, 2011

Dear members of the Collective Behavior and Social Movement Section of ASA

We write to express our outrage at the way in which our esteemed colleague, Frances Fox Piven, has been pilloried, even terrorized, by both the right wing media (most especially Glenn Beck of FOX News) and character-assassinating, vicious, right wing extremist blogs associated with (but not limited to) him. One of us first heard about these assaults Continue reading “frances fox piven under attack”

the scatterplot official* ranking of sociology graduate programs

After seeing the NRC ranking of graduate programs, my first impulse was to simply ignore it.  The process has been a mess–and now the results reflect that mess perfectly.  My second instinct was to write a post encouraging everyone else to ignore it.  Obviously, that’s not going to happen!  It’s so hard to stop myself from responding and pointing out the many flaws and the really bizarre results.  But it won’t be long until everyone else deals with that task–so instead I think what we really need is an alternative.

The NRC study cost millions of dollars and tens-of-thousands of person hours to create.   I want to be cheap and fast–and better than the NRC ranking.  Not way better, not perfect, just better.  So, I give you the Scatterplot Official Ranking of Sociology (SORS), constructed in less than 15 minutes using a very carefully constructed proprietary algorithm (see footnote 2 for details).  You will no doubt find surprises and program positions you’d quibble with–but anyone who compares my results to the “S” rankings of the NRC will immediately declare mine to be superior and more useful.  I submit, therefore, that you will be more than justified in using the SORS in any future program evaluation, discussion about the state of sociology, or program initiative.  Continue reading “the scatterplot official* ranking of sociology graduate programs”