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A non-standard approach to teaching an introductory statistics course to social science students.

Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference On Teaching Statistics (ICOTS-7), Salvador, Brazil.
Murphy, P.
Rossman, A., & Chance, B.
Voorburg, The Netherlands: International Statistical Institute.

This paper describes a course that was developed to teach statistics to students majoring in Psychology and Politics. There were several interesting aspects to this course. Firstly each lecture contained between 550 and 800 students. Secondly those students were almost uniformly negatively disposed to Statistics prior to the beginning of the course. Thirdly we were required to provide an introduction to Statistics in just 12 lectures, each of 50 minutes duration. Constrained, we were forced to think deeply about what we want to provide to students in an Introductory Statistics course. Making use of simulations and the internet, we chose to emphasise concepts and critical thinking and supported these with examples which had direct relevance to our students. Restricted to 12 lectures, we learned to make optimum use of each lecture. Can a short course like this act as a useful pre-cursor to the standard Introductory Statistics course?