• Setting the Tone from Day 1

    Larry Lesser, The University of Texas at El Paso
    Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 2:30pm
    When a course begins, students may not arrive with abundant background knowledge (and certainly haven't yet done any assigned reading in the textbook), but do arrive with some (mis)conceptions about the course and the discipline. Based largely on the Lesser & Kephart paper in the November 2011 issue of Journal of Statistics Education www.amstat.org/publications/jse/v19n3/lesser.pdf (which you are welcome but not required to read in advance), this webinar gives concrete class-tested activities and process (with rationale) of how instructors can go beyond calling roll and discussing the syllabus and set the tone on a course's opening day. We will also discuss how the process may be applied to other days of the course, to various types of courses, to classes of varying sizes, to meeting times of varying lengths, etc.
  • Bootstrapping and randomization: Seeing all the moving parts

    Chris J. Wild, University of Auckland
    Friday, November 11, 2011 - 2:30pm
    This webinar is a short visual, narrative journey from the vibrating boxplot imagery of the author's 2009 USCOTS Plenary and Wild et al. (2011) to visualisations of bootstrap confidence intervals and, if time permits, randomisation tests. Software under development will be used and made available as-is to any brave souls willing to live on the edge. References: www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~wild/09.USCOTSTalk.html Wild, C.J., M. Pfannkuch, M., Regan, M. and Horton, N.J. (2011). Towards more accessible conceptions of statistical Inference (with Discussion). Journal of the Royal Statistical Society A, 174, 247-295.
  • Pinochle Poker: An Activity to Solidify Concepts in Counting and Probability

    Jackie Wroughton & Joe Nolan, Northern Kentucky University
    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 2:30pm
    We teach counting techniques such as combinations and permutations to aid students in accurately computing the size of large "sample spaces" and "events" without the need to list each individual possibility. We believe based on personal experiences that this material is challenging for students in part due to their desire to be able to perform calculations instantaneously without the need for careful and critical analysis of the problem. We present an activity - using ideas from the games of poker and pinochle - designed to help students expand from basic counting techniques and formulas to begin to think more critically about their subtleties. In addition to involving the advanced levels of critical thinking we want students to experience, the use of poker is advantageous because it represents a real-life situation with which many students are already familiar. Our observations suggest that some students will more readily engage in the activity due to these interests. Complexity is added by utilizing the less familiar Pinochle deck. While this activity has been tailored for use with statistics majors and future teachers at NKU, we believe the activity to be both entertaining and applicable for many different levels of students (including high-school discrete mathematics courses that have substantial probability components). We will discuss the activity including learning outcomes, rationale, and opportunities for teachable moments.
  • Using a Paper Ruler Activity to Help Students Understand the Difference Between Random and Systematic Errors

    Jamis Perrett, Texas A&M University
    Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - 2:30pm
    Class activities that get students to physically participate in the data collection can be fun for the students, can keep them attentive during class, and can help them remember key concepts. The paper ruler activity is a fun way to solidify students' understanding of the difference between random and systematic errors and the only material needed for the activity is a piece of paper and a pen/pencil.
  • Happyville: Putting A Smile Into Statistical Ideas

    Kevin Robinson, Millersville University of Pennsylvania
    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 2:30pm
    This webinar will present a simple activity/handout called happyville, a community of 100 households, that has been used successfully in statistics courses. Happyville is utilized throughout the course to aid student understanding of statistical concepts including descriptive statistics, sampling techniques, sampling variation, sampling distributions, central limit theorem, confidence level, confidence intervals and type I & II errors. The happyville activity has the beneficial properties of being used throughout the course, visual demonstration and student engagement. The activity lends itself to both hands on simulation as well as computer based simulation. The activity maintains the attention and engagement of students, enables the students to discover important statistical ideas and overcome misconceptions often encountered in introductory statistics courses. Website: http://sites.millersville.edu/krobinson/happyville/
  • Using Crossword Puzzles in Applied Statistics Courses

    John McKenzie, Babson College
    Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 2:30pm
    This webinar explains how crossword puzzles can be used as in-class exercises, quizzes, and examination questions in applied statistics courses to assist the students in learning basic statistical terminology. It presents innovative numerical crossword puzzles that can be to ask questions about statistical software output. It explains how the use of such puzzles was impractical in the past due to time it took to construct them but that this is no longer the case with the availability of a number of Internet sites.
  • Active Methods for Teaching Central Tendency

    David Lane, Rice University
    Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 2:30pm
    The concept of central tendency is typically taught by presenting measures of central tendency and then describing their properties. A (perhaps) better alternative is to think about different ways in which central tendency can be defined and then find statistics that fit these definitions. An activity using Java applets that allows students to discover statistics for each of three definitions of central tendency will be presented.
  • The Role of a Wine Pricing Competition in Teaching Data Mining at Stanford

    Susan Holmes & Nelson Ray, Stanford University
    Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 12:00pm
    We will discuss how we coordinated, held, and judged a wine pricing competition (hosted on Kaggle-in-Class - inclass.kaggle.com) to engage students in applying prediction techniques learned in our data mining class at Stanford. We found that with proper incentives, the competition was very successful in getting students interested in working collaboratively in a race against the clock to eke out additional predictive performance in their models.
  • What Proportion Of The U.S. Is Within A Mile Of A Road?

    Nicholas Horton, Smith College
    Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 12:00pm
    A challenge in introductory statistics is to motivate the estimation of unknown population parameters. In this activity, we allow students to estimate the proportion of the continental United States that is within a mile of a road by repeatedly sampling latitudes and longitudes and viewing that location using an internet mapping service. Technology is used to generate random values within a specified geographic rectangle, which populate a data collection spreadsheet. Students are instructed how to use MapQuest.com to determine if the random location is within the continental US and if so, whether it is within a mile of a road. This data collection task helps to fix ideas of study design ("what if the point lands in the middle of one of the Great Lakes"?) as well as motivate the estimation of an unknown proportion. Individual confidence intervals can be created and compared, as well as creation of a class-wide confidence interval. This activity can be used in introductory classes at all levels.
  • FREE CLICKERS!: Using PollEverywhere for Formative Assessment in the Classroom

    Michael Posner, Villanova University
    Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 2:30pm
    Formative assessment is where feedback on learning activities is used to modify the method of teaching to meet the needs of the learner. One such strategy is the use of personal response systems, or clickers, for instant feedback. Immediately examining the responses, teachers transcend the lecture-only model and are empowered to foster student-centered learning by explaining misconceptions or feeling confident that students understand the concepts. Attention is no longer deferred to the loudest student or the fastest hand-raiser, but rather to entire class. I have wanted to try clickers, but was reluctant due to the barriers of implementation - cost to the student and software and hardware demands, including students forgetting their clickers. I recently discovered polleverywhere.com, which allows students to text in their answers using cell phones and see the results immediately on the screen. Results can be captured and shared with students on websites or blogs. It's free for small classes and claims to cost 1/3 as much as clickers for larger classes. My students love it! I'll discuss my experiences and share how I have integrated some of the classic active-based exercises in statistics into my class and used formative assessment techniques that have helped bring my classroom to life. Have your cell phones ready if you join this webinar!