Mapping the Curricular Structure and Contents of Network Science Courses

As network science has matured as a well-established field of research, there are already a number of courses on this topic developed and offered at various higher education institutions, often at postgraduate levels. In those courses, instructors have adopted different approaches with different focus areas and curricular designs. We collected information about 30 existing network science courses from various online sources, and analyzed the contents of their syllabi or course schedules. The topics and their curricular sequences were extracted from the course syllabi/schedules and represented as a directed weighted graph, which we call the topic network. Community detection in the topic network revealed seven topic clusters, which had a reasonable matching with the concept list previously generated by students and educators through the Network Literacy initiative. The minimum spanning tree of the topic network revealed typical flows of curricular contents, starting with examples of networks, moving onto random networks and small-world networks, then branching off to various subtopics from there. These results illustrate the current state of the consensus formed among the network science community on what should be taught about networks and how, which may also be informative for K-12 education and informal education.


Mapping the Curricular Structure and Contents of Network Science Courses
Hiroki Sayama