USCOTS 2013 - Breakout Session #1


  1. "The Reality of Online Teaching: Making Changes to Do It Well and Still Have a Life"

    Michelle Everson (University of Minnesota), Camille Fairbourn (Utah State University), Ellen Gundlach (Purdue University)

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    Online and distance delivery of statistics classes pose their own set of challenges. How do you maintain a work/life balance when your students work and ask questions at all hours, seven days a week? How do you communicate instructions to students and help them prepare and study for class? How do you define and handle the tricky line between collaboration and cheating? In this session, participants will break into small groups to discuss these topics. An experienced online/hybrid instructor will lead each small group, posing questions and scenarios for discussion and problem solving with full-session sharing at the end.

  2. "K-12 Teacher Preparation in Statistics: No Longer Optional but Essential"

    Anna Bargagliotti (Loyola Marymount University), Christine Franklin (University of Georgia), Randall Groth (Salisbury University), Tim Jacobbe (University of Florida), Jennifer Kaplan (University of Georgia)

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    The United States is struggling to achieve a level of quantitative literacy for its graduates to prepare them to thrive in the modern world (Friedman, 2007). Given the prevalence of statistics in the media and workplace, individuals who aspire to a wide range of positions and careers require a certain level of statistical literacy. Because of the emphasis on data and statistical understanding, it is crucial for us as educators to consider how we can prepare a statistically literate population. Students must acquire an adequate level of statistical literacy through their education. To ensure this happens, K-12 teachers must be well versed in statistics. Change in teacher preparation must thus be implemented in order to respond to the call from society for an increase in statistical understanding.

    This session will discuss how pre-service K-12 teachers should be prepared in statistics as well as provide specific examples of teacher education materials for different K-12 grade bands that exemplify best practices. Together with the audience, we will explore opinions about K-12 teacher preparation and work through examples of effective teacher preparation materials in groups. Once the groups have had time to discuss their results, we will discuss the fundamental points of each of the materials.

    The overarching theme of the session will be to encourage participants to take initiative in becoming involved in K-12 teacher preparation. It will provide concrete examples of the different ways that people could be involved at the college level, state level, and national level. Audience members who have the opportunity to specifically develop and teach statistics courses for pre-service teachers will be provided concrete example activities that can be used in their classes.

  3. "Changing Classroom Dynamics: Practical Techniques to Deepen the Discourse"

    Amy Wagler and Lawrence Lesser (The University of Texas at El Paso)

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    Classroom discourse centered around one-way, instructor-to-student lecture may not be effective and is rarely engaging. The College GAISE (ASA, 2010, p. 9) state that "...teachers of statistics should rely much less on lecturing and much more on alternatives such as projects, lab exercises, and group problem-solving and discussion activities." This session explores classroom-tested, low-cost practical methods to "make change happen" in classroom discourse so that both instructors and students are engaged in interactive discussion about content, including identifying and critiquing assumptions, examining the context of problems, formulating conclusions, etc. Participants will not merely hear the rationale about, but also actually experience "as a student" these techniques: (1) low-tech classroom voting (e.g., Lesser, 2011), (2) the "liberating structure" known as 1-2-4-whole (e.g., Lipmanowicz & McCandless, 2010), and (3) calibration of performance exercises (e.g., Miller & Geraci, 2011). Participants will also have the opportunity to try out one or more techniques "as a teacher."

    Scenarios will be presented and participants will brainstorm about how to respond in the face of commonly encountered patterns of student response. Participants will have the opportunity to share solutions as well as to identify and address common implementation difficulties or resistance to making change happen in the classroom. The facilitating presenters, whose teaching awards reflect in part the use of such techniques, will provide a handout of references and resources.

  4. "Learning How to Implement Pedagogical Change by Considering Successes and Failures"

    John McKenzie (Babson College), Robert Andrews (Virginia Commonwealth University), Robert Goldman (Simmons College)

    Applied introductory statistics courses appeared in the United States in late 1890s and were taught by traditional lectures. Today, the traditional lecture mode is still the predominant delivery mode, even though it has been shown that traditional lectures alone are not the best way to help students learn subject matter. In recent years a considerable number of innovative delivery methods, such as classroom response systems (clickers) and "flipped" or "inverted" classrooms, have been developed with the object of increasing student performance. This breakout session will provide participants with an overview of these innovative teaching practices for statistics. Participants will be asked to complete a short questionnaire about their interest in and level of experience with selected instructional innovations. The participants will then be broken up into small groups, each of which will discuss a different specific method. For this method, each group will address why it should be introduced, what barriers exist to introducing it, what reasons might exist to cause one to discontinue use after it had been implemented, and how it should be assessed. Upon the completion of the group discussions, spokespersons will give a concise summary of their group's deliberations on each of the four discussion points and submit a brief written report to the leaders. At the end of the session, summary results of the questionnaire will be presented and there will be a discussion about interest in a website of evidence-based teaching methods for the introductory applied statistics course.

  5. "StatKey - Online Tools for Teaching Bootstraps and Randomization Tests"

    Robin Lock and Patti Frazer Lock (St. Lawrence University), Kari Lock Morgan and Eric Lock (Duke University), Dennis Lock (Iowa State University)

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    StatKey is a freely available set of web-based apps designed for teaching computer-intensive techniques, such as bootstrap confidence intervals and randomization tests, as intuitive ideas at an early stage of an introductory statistics course. In this workshop we illustrate the main features of StatKey and give participants hands-on experience with using these tools to work through several guided activities. StatKey runs on virtually all current browsers and a variety of platforms (including tablets and smartphones), so participants will be able to use their own technology or one of the lab machines as part of the session. All that's needed is a browser and an internet connection (or download the Google Chrome app and you don't even need the internet!). We have designed StatKey as a no-cost, user-friendly option to give students access to methods described at a previous USCOTS as the "next big thing" in statistics education. It features a straightforward, intuitive interface that focuses on developing the computer-intensive ideas efficiently with minimal need for an intensive computing background. The session will include activities for teaching bootstrap confidence intervals for different parameters and creating randomization distributions to estimate (and really understand!) p-values. We will also illustrate some additional features of StatKey (like the graphical replacements for traditional statistics tables) that support teaching a modern introductory statistics class.

  6. "A Tutorial on Modeling with Multiple Variables"

    Danny Kaplan (Macalester College) and Nicholas Horton (Smith College)

    There's growing interest in teaching modeling, from the Common Core to college. This breakout will demonstrate ways to make multivariable modeling approachable to introductory students at a college level. With hands-on activities, we'll provide an overview of the central concepts, describe how these augment or displace traditional topics in introductory statistics, and illustrate ways to use modern, free software and cloud-based servers to facilitate student investigations. Our goal is to enable you to change your introductory statistics course to allow you to teach modeling in statistics while, at the same time, reinforcing key concepts of data description and statistical inference.

  7. "Change From the Ground Up - a Faculty Perspective of the Carnegie Statway Networked Improvement Community"

    James Gray (Tacoma Community College) and Jim Smart (Tallahassee Community College)

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    The Statway initiative from the Carnegie Foundation is a comprehensive year-long pathway of college level statistics that is targeted for elementary algebra-ready students. It is an alternative to the traditional elementary algebra/intermediate algebra path into college level mathematics. In addition to curriculum redesign, Statway is a supports a unique pedagogy, addresses psycho-social issues affecting student success, and engages faculty in the use of analytics to help identify areas for intervention.

    The Statway initiative takes place within a network of faculty and researchers working together to address a common problem. This networked improvement community, or NIC, supports a systematics inquiry into what works for whom and under what conditions, in order to affect sustainable, scalable change.

    During this session we will share our experience teaching Statway and working within the community to improve it. Attendees will engage with the learning opportunities in the Statway curriculum materials, examine the before and after of faculty led curriculum improvement efforts, and offer critiques and suggestions for improvement. We will outline the role and model used for faculty led improvement and development efforts that are currently the norm for how we improve Statway.

    We will also share what has been one of the most interesting aspects of working within the Statway initiative, and that is the unique pedagogy and interventions around psycho-social issues. Our work in this area has spread throughout our departments to affect and improve outcomes in our other classes as well.

    Attendees will leave this session with a better understanding of the Statway initiative and how faculty can use the model and tools within Statway to support their own change efforts. They will get hands-on experience with the materials and tools themselves.

  8. "Using Learning Trajectories to Interpret the Common Core Math Standards (Grades 6-8: Data, Variation, Modeling, and Probability)"

    Alan Maloney, Jere Confrey, Tamar Avineri, and Jennifer Nickell (North Carolina State University)

    Recognizing the urgent need for tools to support teachers and teacher educators in implementing the CCSS-M, and its goal of major improvements in conceptual teaching and learning, our team created 18 research-based learning trajectories to provide resources for practitioner interpretation of the K-8 Common Core Math Standards. The project captures student conceptual development: prior knowledge through intermediate understandings to targeted mathematical proficiencies. We describe the TurnOnCCMath project's design, the goal of linking research on student learning to instructional practice, focusing on student development of data, statistical, and probability reasoning.

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