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I am planning a new class (for me) with freshman.  The theme is networks, 
and I want them to get their hands dirty with real data.  This will be 
primarily descriptive analysis.

I searched the archives and got a few possibilities, but "teaching 
networks' did not seem like a common subject.

Two questions:
1) Is there an "ideal" software package for ease of use?

2) Has anyone tired to have students use their own networks from facebook, 
myspace or the like as the original data for class assignments?  ( I have 
just now started to poke around with these, but my students have told me 
they can "map" their own networks.  Maybe some of these sites allow for 
data exporting?  Or, at the least, I can have students take a map and code 
it themselves which may have some educational benefit)?

Much appreciated-


Jordi Comas
Visiting Assistant Professor
Bucknell University
570 577-3161
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