This site is based on two principles:
- Provide practical information in a flexible format
- Let users build their own learning with positive energy
Because students in undergraduate or graduate courses, or projects like a Duke Bass Connections team, may only need a few minutes of explanation about an idea to be immediately more productive, we break topics into "modules" that cover just a very small topic covering a research concept or method. We feel that telling students they need to spend, for example, 20 lectures on statistics to be able to really learn a topic is often not helpful. Sometimes a small memorable insight is what's really key, so we make these moments the core of our site.
We combine each video with a description, links to related videos, and a transcript of the video dialogue. The videos themselves have a relaxed, conversational tone to reduce intimidation and anxiety, which we think will mean that the learning is ultimately more effective.
However, providing individual videos in isolation robs them of the rich connective tissue that binds theoretical and practical ideas across the social sciences, so we package our videos into a nested but flexible structure of modules that group videos together on a single topic to provide a coherent context for each video in them. This system gives users a flexible system of largely independent modules on small topics in social science while simultaneously giving them structured paths through interconnected concepts and methods. We feel that this system provides many great options for students and teachers in standard or flipped courses, students on interdisciplinary team projects like Duke's Bass Connections program, or in independent research projects.
Mod•U was developed by a small group at the Duke University Social Science Research Institute, led by James Speckart, Thomas Nechyba, Alexandra Cooper, and Carol Ripple, with help from many partners within SSRI and across the Duke campus. The current Mod•U site was developed by the SSRI Communications Team.