Models for Integrating Statistics in Biology Education: A Panel Discussion

Tuesday, May 12th, 20092:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Presented by: Laura Kubatko, The Ohio State University; Danny Kaplan, Macalester College; and Jeff Knisley, East Tennessee State University


National reports such as Bio2010 have called for drastic improvements in the quantitative education that biology students receive. The three panelists are involved in three differently structured integrative programs aimed to give biology students the statistics that are useful in learning and doing biology.

The three programs have some surprising things in common for teaching introductory statistics. All three involve connecting calculus and statistics. All three reach beyond the mathematical topics usually encountered in intro statistics in important ways. All three aim to keep the mathematics and statistics strongly connected to biology.

The panelists will describe their different approaches to teaching statistics for biology and discuss how and why an integrated approach gives advantages. Important issues are how to tie statistics advantageously with calculus, how to keep "advanced" mathematical and statistical topics accessible to introductory-level biology students, and how to employ computation productively. The discussion will contrast a comprehensive "team" approach (at ETSU) with stand-alone courses (at Macalester and at OSU) and will refer to the institutional opportunities and constraints that have shaped the programs at their different institutions.