USCOTS 2009 - Breakout Session #1


  1. George Cobb, Mount Holyoke College

    "Making Bayes Work in the Classroom"

    One of the major obstacles to teaching Bayesian thinking in a beginning course is the theorem that bears his name. The standard elementary treatment of that theorem is based on a 2x2 table, but the standard inference methods -- like the confidence interval for a binomial proportion - are hard to connect to the 2x2 table. In this follow-up to my plenary talk, I'll demonstrate an alternative: a hands-on, simulation-based approach that relies not on Bayes Theorem but rather on a version of the likelihood principle articulated by Laplace.

    In whatever time remains, I'll try to address questions/concerns/challenges about "Bayes for Beginners". My hope is that these will come from the audience, but I'll have a list in my back pocket.

  2. Sterling Hilton, Brigham Young University; & Felicity Enders, Mayo Clinic Biostatistics Division

    "Making Research Relevant: Planting Seeds for Future Research in Statistics Education"

    Sometimes research findings seem far-removed from and irrelevant to the practice of teaching statistics. What areas of research are most relevant and important to improving the teaching and learning of statistics? The primary purpose of this session is to give participants an opportunity to identify research topics that are of greatest interest and relevance to them in their classrooms. In this session, our discussion will be framed by the components of a research program as outlined in the ASA-sponsored SMER report (2007). A brief overview of these components will be given and examples of research studies from statistics education will be shared. Participants will then work in small groups to explore which research topics are most relevant to them, why such topics are of interest, and what steps they think would be necessary to conduct research in these areas. The presenters will facilitate a whole group discussion to determine common themes among the research topics and to establish a tentative prioritization of these topics. This information will be used to shape and inform the direction of future research endeavors in order to help make statistics education research more relevant to the consumers of this research.

  3. Christine Franklin, University of Georgia

    "Preparing Teachers for the New Generation of K-16 Students: Letting Go of the Standard Introductory Course"

    Statistical literacy is a must have competency for our citizenry to thrive in our information rich modern world. Sound statistical reasoning skills take time to develop and cannot be honed in a single introductory college statistics course. To acquire proficiency in statistical thinking requires that statistics education begin early. Foundational statistical concepts should be introduced and nurtured in the elementary grades, and these ideas should be strengthened and expanded throughout the middle, high school and post-secondary grades. The participants in this session will experience examples of a developmental framework for a conceptual and cohesive structure for statistical education at Grades K-16. We will discuss the importance of letting go of the standard introductory statistics course to prepare K-12 teachers and growing to develop college-level courses designed specifically for teachers that advance both content and pedagogical knowledge for delivering data analysis within the K-12 mathematics curriculum.

  4. Dani Ben-Zvi, University of Haifa, Israel

    "Using Wiki to Promote Collaborative Learning in Statistics Education"

    In this session I attempt to make a strong case for the use of Wiki to support collaborative learning experiences for students in the statistics classroom. Wiki is an innovative Website that allows all users to add and edit content with relative simplicity. Wiki features empowered learners and bottom-up organization that enable easy authoring of Web content, open access and unrestricted collaboration. I introduce statistics as a collaborative discipline and therefore compatible with Wiki as a collaborative learning space. I show evidence that collaboration can improve the learning of individuals in the statistics classroom as well as the whole class. Finally I demonstrate how Wiki can facilitate collaborative learning and bring about instructional change to improve student learning of statistics. Several types of Wiki-based activities are presented: Collaborative writing, glossaries, discussion and review, statistical projects, self-reflective journals, and assessment.

  5. Michelle Everson, University of Minnesota; & David Zeitler, Grand Valley State University

    "Letting go of the face-to-face classroom: Creating effective statistics courses for the online generation"

    This session will focus on sharing experiences teaching hybrid and online introductory statistics courses. We will share how we planned, designed, managed, and assessed courses aligned with the GAISE recommendations. Participants will engage in discussions such as how to:

    • Take activities, lessons, and assessments that are currently used in the physical classroom and revise or re-structure them for the online environment
    • Incorporate applets or statistical software in the online course
    • Motivate students to become active participants in online discussion forums
    • Establish rapport with students and maintain instructor presence in the online environment.

    Participants will also be asked to raise issues related to online teaching and learning and to offer suggestions for how to deal with various challenges they have faced.

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