Navigating the First Statistics Service Course

Presented by

Tom Short, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; John Holcomb, Cleveland State University

Monday, August 6 through Friday, August 10, 2007


The Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education (CAUSE), in partnership with the Mathematics Department of Monroe Community College, is sponsoring a workshop on teaching the first statistics service course. This five-day workshop targets inexperienced teachers of Introductory Statistics, and will expose the participants to current strategies, resources, and research about teaching and learning introductory statistics.

The workshop will explore many topics in the development and improvement of an introductory statistics course. The workshop will be structured around the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) College Report (see Participants will also explore, an online digital library of statistics teaching materials. The workshop will also help participants develop assessment strategies and instruments that identify student learning. This will include use of the online Assessment Resource Tools for Improving Statistical Thinking (ARTIST).

About the Presenters

Tom Short

Tom Short

Tom Short is an Associate Professor in the Mathematics Department and Coordinator of the Applied Research Lab at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is currently co-editor, with Iddo Gal, and the Statistics Education Research Journal (SERJ, see He is also on the Advanced Placement Statistics Test Development Committee. Tom has taught numerous workshops for college faculty and K-12 teachers. He is the Director of Professional Development for CAUSE. Tom was named a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 2004, and received the 2005 "Statistical Education Award" from Mu Sigma Rho, the National Statistics Honor Society.

John Holcomb

John Holcomb

John Holcomb is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Cleveland State University. He was the 2003 receipient of the American Statistical Association's Waller Award for Teaching Excellence of Introductory Statistics. Named a Carnegie Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2000, he has been a frequent workshop presenter on using real data and data analysis projects in introductory statistics. He is a member of the Research Advisory Board for CAUSE and served on the advisory board for the Assessment Resource Tools for Improving Statistical Thinking (ARTIST) project.

Workshop Logistics

The "Navigating the First Statistics Course" workshop will be held at the Damon City campus of Monroe Community College in Rochester New York. Workshop attendance will be limited to 28 participants. There is no registration fee or cost for materials. Lunch will be provided each day of the workshop to all participants as well as a dinner for the participants on Thursday, August 9. Five nights lodging will be provided at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Rochester for those participants who live further than 30 miles from the campus. Participants will be responsible for transportation to the workshop and dinners except for Thursday evening. The workshop is a very short walk from the hotel. Evaluation of the applications to attend this workshop will begin March 15, 2007 and notification of acceptance will be emailed starting April 1, 2007.


Please note: CAUSEway workshops receive principal funding from a National Science Foundation grant. As part of that award, Science and Mathematics Program Improvement (SAMPI) at Western Michigan University will be conducting an independent evaluation of all CAUSEway activities and workshop participants are expected to fully participate in this evaluation.

Workshop Agenda

Workshop sessions will be held from 8:30 AM through 4:30 PM each day. The contents of the sessions are described below.

The workshop outline is based on the recommendations contained in the GAISE College Report (

Day 1: Statistical thinking and conceptual understanding

What is statistical thinking? What big concepts do you want your students to take away from a first statistics course? How do we use the GAISE guidelines? On the first day of the workshop we'll share experiences in introductory courses and recommendations for the concepts and content in the first course.

Day 2: Finding and using real data

It can be difficult to identify sources of real data for use in introductory courses. We'll share collections of real data, strategies for finding more real data, and approaches to incorporating real data into the course. We will also present our experiences with service learning in statistics course.

Day 3: Getting away from formulas and fostering active learning

Many believe that students learn and retain concepts better when they are actively engaged. We'll discuss the role of formulas and interactive activities in the first course. We'll emphasize resources available on the site, including those contributed and refereed.

Day 4: Assessment of student learning

All of our best efforts to teach statistics mean little if the students don't learn the material better. We will describe research and resources for assessing student understanding of the concepts in introductory statistics. Our focus will be on the resources available through Assessment Resource Tools for Improving Statistical Thinking (ARTIST). This comprehensive Web resource includes an assessment builder and extensive resources for creating authentic assessments.


Day 5: The role of technology in introductory statistics

We will be using different technologies throughout the workshop, but we need to consider the broad role of technology. Can we rethink how technology relates to the concepts vital to understanding and application of introductory statistics? Technology has already changed the way most of us teach statistics, but logistical constraints often prevent using the full potential of technology. We'll share a variety of resources and experiences for incorporating technology into a first statistics course for the benefit of students.