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Three weeks after the Red Sox opened their season at Fenway Park, baseball fans around the world were offered another opening day of sorts, when a baseball-centered class debuted as BU’s first MOOC (massive open online course). Sabermetrics 101: Introduction to Baseball Analytics kicked off what will be several MOOCs that BU will offer via edX, the online platform spearheaded by Harvard and MIT. MOOCs allow students anywhere to take university classes free, for no credit.
For sabermetrician Andy Andres, a College of General Studies senior lecturer in natural sciences and mathematics, the MOOC was a chance to put online a course he had previously taught in a traditional classroom at Tufts. (Andres is also a Major League Baseball datacaster, tracking and notating every play, from hits to foul balls, for Red Sox home games.) Sabermetrics is the statistical analysis of baseball.
Three more MOOCs will be offered in the fall: War for the Greater Middle East, taught by Andrew Bacevich, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of international relations and history; The Art of Poetry, taught by three-time US poet laureate Robert Pinsky, a CAS professor of English and creative writing; and Alien Worlds: The Science of Exoplanet Discovery and Characterization, taught by Andrew West, a CAS assistant professor of astronomy.