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Calling Bull in an Age of Big Data with R

Author(s): Carrie Diaz Eaton

Bates College and QUBES

776 total view(s), 206 download(s)


This is an adaptation of calling bull which includes R and an emphasis on data viz.

"The world is awash in bullshit. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted by press release. Higher education rewards bullshit over analytic thought. Startup culture elevates bullshit to high art. Advertisers wink conspiratorially and invite us to join them in seeing through all the bullshit — and take advantage of our lowered guard to bombard us with bullshit of the second order. The majority of administrative activity, whether in private business or the public sphere, seems to be little more than a sophisticated exercise in the combinatorial reassembly of bullshit.

We're sick of it. It's time to do something, and as educators, one constructive thing we know how to do is to teach people. So, the aim of this course is to help students navigate the bullshit-rich modern environment by identifying bullshit, seeing through it, and combating it with effective analysis and argument."


This is a flipped class use of Calling Bull. I used Figure of the Day at the beginning of every other class. Students focused on discussion of CB course materials in class as well as projects inspired by the Calling Bull Case studies which increased in difficulty throughout the semester. Those who wish to adapt can contact Carrie Diaz Eaton for an example lesson plan as well.

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