Journal Article

  • Conducting inference is a cornerstone upon which the practice of statistics is based. As such, a large portion of most introductory statistics courses is focused on teaching the fundamentals of statistical inference. The goal of this study is to make a formal comparison of learning outcomes under the traditional and simulation-based inference curricula. A randomized experiment was conducted to administer the two curricula to students in an introductory statistics course. Students of the simulation-based curriculum were found to have improved learning outcomes on topics in statistical inference; however, a clear violation of between-student independence due to group administration of curriculum treatments casts considerable doubt on the statistical significance of these results. A simulation study is used to demonstrate the volatility of Type I error rates in educational studies where classroom level covariance structures exist by comparisons are made on the student level.

  • Nolan and Temple Lang argue that “the ability to express statistical computations is an es- sential skill.” A key related capacity is the ability to conduct and present data analysis in a way that another person can understand and replicate. The copy-and-paste workflow that is an artifact of antiquated user-interface design makes reproducibility of statistical analysis more difficult, especially as data become increasingly complex and statistical methods become increasingly sophisticated. R Markdown is a new technology that makes creating fully-reproducible statistical analysis simple and painless. It provides a solution suitable not only for cutting edge research, but also for use in an introductory statistics course. We present experiential and statistical evidence that R Markdown can be used effectively in introductory statistics courses, and discuss its role in the rapidly-changing world of statistical computation.

  • Meaningful assessments that reveal student thinking are vital to the success of addressing the GAISE recommendation: use assessments to improve and evaluate student learning. Constructed-response questions, also known as open-response or short answer questions, in which students must write an answer in their own words, have been shown to better reveal students' understanding than multiple-choice questions, but they are much more time consuming to grade for classroom use or code for research purposes. This paper describes and illustrates the use of two different software packages to analyze open-response data collected from undergraduate students’ writing. The analysis and results produced by the two packages are contrasted with each other and with the results obtained from hand coding of the same data sets. The article concludes with a discussion of the advantages and limitations of the analysis options for statistics education research.

  • Technology allows us to offer great improvements on the traditional paper-bound textbook. I describe reasons for why electronic textbooks will become the norm in the near future.

  • The traditional textbook is a familiar and useful tool that has served well for centuries. Here, we discuss OpenIntro Statistics, a new textbook that seeks to retain the long-standing points of excellence among traditional textbooks, while overcoming what is potentially the most important traditional limitation: exclusivity. OpenIntro Statistics is a completely open-source textbook, which can be downloaded for free and edited by anybody. Its content meets the highest established standards, and is is written, edited, and reviewed by faculty from leading universities. In this paper, we provide support for the assertion that OpenIntro Statistics retains as many of the advantages of a traditional textbook as possible, while empowering the largest possible audience to own and edit introductory content in statistics. We also discuss how the open-source textbook model differs from other technologically enabled alternatives to the traditional textbook, and consider trends in the textbook over the coming years.

  • In the past several decades, the statistics textbook has evolved to include a variety of ancillary materials intended to supplement students’ learning and assist the teacher (e.g., workbooks, study guides, audio program, test banks, PowerPoint slides, links to applets and websites, etc.). Given the capabilities of modern technology and the need for change in content and pedagogy in the introductory statistics course, a new vision of a textbook is offered, one that exploits new technology, provides modern content, and is a more integral part of the course. Rather than serving as a supplement to a course, the modern textbook needs to embody the course. An example of such a text in the context of a unique, new introductory statistics course is provided.

  • Online courses are becoming an increasingly more common option for college students and technology plays a critically important role. How can a course be taught in a way that engages the students so that they master the material as well as they would in a traditional classroom? In order to help accomplish these goals various technological packages must be chosen to bridge the gap between the traditional and online course. This paper will discuss the technological setup of an online Statistics course, and review the technology choices, implementations, and problems that arose. The paper will concentrate on the discussion of five areas: location of course, class conduct, communication, assessment and any additional hardware requirements.

  • In response to the need for reformed, outcome-based higher education statistics curricula in the Philippines, this paper draws from current research on the role of technology in statistics education and presents a framework for technology integration in teaching undergraduate and graduate-level statistics for non-majors. Anchored on the principles of Outcome-Based Education, this framework combines ideas from Pearson and Gallagher’s Gradual Release of Responsibility Model and Taggart’s Reflective Thinking Model to guide the attainment of the goals and intended learning outcomes for teaching statistics with technology as expanded opportunity and support for learning success. The Gradual Release of Responsibility Model describes how responsibility of learning shifts gradually over time from teacher to student ownership and from modeled and guided instruction to collaborative and independent learning. The Reflective Thinking Model guides the course design where focus in teaching with technology moves from technical to contextual, and then to dialectical, in the transition from undergraduate to graduate -level statistics.

  • Course projects have been argued to help develop students’ statistical thinking, but implementing authentic and realistic course projects still presents major challenges. This paper evaluated students’ experiences and perceptions of using an online simulated virtual environment, known as the Island, for implementing major course projects within an online masters level introductory statistics course. The use of the Island aimed to overcome significant practical and ethical constraints imposed on project-based work in online courses. The project required students to answer a self-posed research question by gathering and analysing data using methods covered in the course. The project was divided into two parts, a mid-semester proposal and an end of semester online presentation. Following completion of the projects, forty-two students responded to a questionnaire which rated their level of agreement to three aspects of using the Island: engagement, ease of use and contributes to understanding. Students were also asked to provide qualitative comments and five students participated in semi-structured interviews. Qualitative feedback was analysed to help explain the results from the quantitative questionnaire. In conclusion, perceptions of the use of the Island for project-based assessment were very positive. Qualitative feedback provided insight into how the Island-based projects may help to develop students’ statistical thinking.

  • It is well recognised that statistics teaching in Kenya needs to change, in both the course content and in the approaches to teaching. Also clear is the important role that can be played through the recent wide availability of modern technology to students at all levels. A wide range of resources are available and various initiatives have also recently been undertaken. However, the system has remained resistant to change. The case is made that teaching and learning of statistics could benefit from initiatives that cut across all educational levels from school through undergraduate to MSc and PhD.