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Estimation Principles

  • A cartoon to teach the idea that averages are less variable than individual values. The cartoon is free for use on course websites or in the classroom. Commercial uses must contact the copyright holder - British cartoonist John Landers (cartoons@landers.co.uk) who drew this cartoon based on an idea from Dennis Pearl.
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  • August 25, 2009 Activity webinar presented by Michelle Everson, University of Minnesota and hosted by Leigh Slauson, Capital University. In a classroom setting, students can engage in hands-on activities in order to better understand certain concepts and ideas. Replicating hands-on activities in an online environment, however, can be a challenge for instructors. The purpose of this webinar is to present an applet that was created to replicate a "Post-it Note" activity commonly used in classroom sections of an undergraduate introductory statistics course at University of Minnesota. The Post-it Note activity is meant to help students develop a more conceptual understanding of the mean and the median by moving a set of Post-it Notes along a number line. During the webinar, participants have an opportunity to see and experience just how online students are able to interact with an applet named the "Sticky Centers" applet, and the webinar presents the kinds of materials and assignments that have been created to use in conjunction with this applet. The webinar ends with a preview of a newer applet that is being developed in order to replicate the famous "Gummy Bears in Space" activity (presented in Schaeffer, Gnanadesikan, Watkins & Witmer, 1996). A supplemental student handout is available for download free of charge.
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  • September 22, 2009 Activity Webinar presented by Diane Evans, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and hosted by Leigh Slauson, Capital University. This webinar is based on an activity found at www.lhs.logan.k12.ut.us/~jsmart/tank.htm and other on-line resources (see references). During World War II, the British and U.S. statisticians used estimation methods to deduce the productivity of Germany's armament factories using serial numbers found on captured equipment, such as tanks. The tanks were numbered in a manner similar to 1, 2, 3, ..., N, and the goal of the allies was to estimate the population maximum N from their collected sample of serial numbers. The purpose of this activity is to introduce students to the concept of an unbiased estimator of a population parameter. Students develop several estimators for the parameter N and compare them by running simulations in Minitab. Extra materials available for download free of charge.
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  • The best way to predict the future is to invent it. This is a quote by American computer scientist Alan C. Kay (1940 - ). The quote was said at a 1971 meeting of Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center.
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  • It's Just STATA Code To Me is a song written by Dorry Segev of Johns Hopkins University that reflects on a number of issues in biostatistical data analysis. The song may be sung to the tune of Billy Joel's 1980 hit song "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me." The lyrics were written for Marie DIener-West's Biostatistics 653 course at Johns Hopkins that regularly asks students to create songs, videos, and poetry with biostatistics themes.

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  • Normal is the average of deviance is a quote by American writer and political activist Rita Mae Brown (1944 - ). The quote may be found on page 126 of her 1993 novel "Venus Envy", spoken by the main character Mary Frazier Armstrong.
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  • I remember my friend Johnny von Neumann used to say, with four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk. includes the quote attributed to Hungarian-American mathematician John von Neumann (1903 - 1957). The full quote was relayed by Enrico Fermi in 1953 when he was asked about the value of a result that used four free parameters in fitting experimental results. (see "A meeting with Enrico Fermi" "Nature" 427: p. 297.)
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  • In earlier times they had no statistics and so they had to fall back on lies. This is a quote by Canadian economist Stephen Leacock (1869 - 1944). The quote is found on page 265 of his 1938 book "In Model Memoirs and Other Sketches from Simple to Serious"
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  • March 13, 2007 webinar presented by Andrew Zieffler, University of Minnesota, and hosted by Jackie Miller, The Ohio State University. The interdisciplinary field of inquiry that is statistics education research spans a diverse set of disciplines and methodologies. A recent review of a subset of this literature, the research on teaching and learning statistics at the college level, was used to raise some practical issues and pose some challenges to the field of statistics education. These are addressed in this CAUSE webinar. In addition, a recent doctoral dissertation study is used to illustrate some of these challenges and offer suggestions for how to deal with them.

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  • April 10, 2007 webinar presented by Maria C. Pruchnicki, The Ohio State University, and hosted by Jackie Miller, The Ohio State University. Distance education and online learning opportunities, collectively known as "e-learning", are becoming increasingly used in higher education. Nationally, online enrollment increased to 3.2 million students in 2005, compared to 2.3 million in 2004. Furthermore, nearly 60% of higher education institutions identify e-learning as part of their long-term education strategy. Newer educational technologies including course management systems and Internet-based conferencing software can be used to both deliver content and engage participants as part of a social learning community. However, even experienced faculty can face pedagogical and operational challenges as they transition to the online environment. This interactive presentation discusses a systematic approach to developing web-based instruction, with an Ohio State University experience as a case example.
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