"The Impact Of Technology On The Teaching Of Statistics"
with Webster West, Texas A&M University
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Over the past two decades, we have seen rapid technological advancements that have had a tremendous effect on statistical education both in terms of its content and its delivery. In this talk, we will take a nostalgic look back at this technological journey, and we will also look into the crystal ball to see where new technology may take statistical education in the future.
Webster West is a Professor of Statistics at Texas A&M University. Shortly after completing his PhD in Statistics at Rice University in 1994, Dr. West began developing Internet resources for statistical education. In the mid 1990s, he started to construct interactive web-based java applets that help students understand difficult statistical concepts. To date, he has developed more than 50 such applets many of which now accompany introductory statistics textbooks. In the same vein, he began to develop a complete online data analysis package in 1997. With support from the National Science Foundation, his StatCrunch package has now blossomed into one of the most used statistical resources on the Web. In 2005, he received the CAUSEweb Resource of the Year Award and the Merlot Classics Award for the StatCrunch project. Currently, he is a PI (with Roger Woodard) of the NSF funded INCIST project - Improving National acceptance of Computationally Intensive Statistical Techniques - that is developing, field testing, and disseminating computationally intensive materials for teaching the topics in an introductory statistics course. He has also written the DoStat course management system which is used as a platform to offer distance courses at Texas A&M. Outside of software development, Dr. West has numerous research interests most of which (not surprisingly) involve a fair amount of statistical computing. He has also published extensively in the fields of changepoint analysis and toxicological risk assessment.