PUBPOL 731: Distance Learning Project for Quantitative Social Science in South Africa

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Winter 2008
Credit Hours

This is a year-long course devoted to developing an internet-based course to promote quantitative social science in South Africa. The end-product will be a web-based course that will teach students (initially in South Africa) how to investigate a variety of public policy issues using data. The web-based course will be based on a large survey of South African households that was financed by the World Bank. The project will use the South African data to develop modules that will teach both elementary statistics and econometrics, as well as inform current policy issues in South Africa. Enrollment will be quite limited. The instructor anticipates working intensively with about three Ford School students, who will be expected to become familiar with the software package Stata over the summer (instructor will assist with this). Students should have completed both Statistics (PUBPOL 529) and Econometrics (PUBPOL 571) and be willing to put a lot of hours into this project. An interest in development issues is helpful. Familiarity with HTML and web-authoring is also a plus. Enrollment will be by application only. Students will probably accompany the instructor to South Africa in the winter semester. The course will be tested with a group of South African students in a class-run workshop at the University of Capetown. Students will also work with counterparts in South Africa to develop the project.