Chris Malone – Winona State University
One’s success in a course is often determined by his or her desire and motivation to learn. Unfortunately, desire and motivation are often lacking in an introductory statistics course. I have learned some tricks over my years of teaching to enhance motivation — leverage their existing knowledge whenever possible and require students to repeatedly consider the phrase “What would happen if … .”
Modern technologies and the recent advances in the use of simulation-based methods in teaching introductory statistics have allowed students to easily consider a variety of “What would happen if …” scenarios.
Robert Lochel, Hatboro-Horsham High School
The Advanced Placement Statistics curriculum contains many natural opportunities for students to demonstrate their understanding through projects. In my course, students complete three major projects during the year: an “old wives’ tale” experimental design project, a casino game design project, and a final comprehensive project after the AP exam in May. Balancing my desire to have students think critically and creatively about a research question, while providing some structure to help students reach clear assessment targets, isn’t always easy. Here are some suggestions for helping teachers design project-based learning experiences.
… this was a “what if” we could have avoided by clearly defining each stage of the project before collecting data.
Karsten Maurer – Iowa State University
In this post, I provide my opinion on whether or not we should teach the bootstrap in introductory statistics courses. I think this question is best answered in two parts: (1) can introductory students generally understand bootstrapping concepts and (2) is the additional bootstrapping material beneficial for student learning. The first component is effectively questioning “can we?” which is necessary before we try to answer the question, “should we?” My short answer to both of these is an emphatic, yes! We can and should teach the bootstrap in introductory statistics courses. My slightly longer answer follows in the remainder of this post.
My short answer … is an emphatic, yes!
Dianna J. Spence – University of North Georgia
Student-directed projects have been a staple of my introductory statistics course for several years, as I want students to learn statistical inquiry through authentic experience. By “student-directed” I mean that the student (or team of 2-3) crafts a research question, defines appropriate variables, collects data, and identifies and uses the correct statistical analysis to address their question. I don’t give the students a list of topics to choose from; I want them to come up with topics based on their interests, and to come up with all of the supporting details.
Here’s how I have organized the course to use both SBI and projects, and how I modified the projects themselves to leverage the benefits that SBI brought to the course.
Tim Hesterberg – Google
Here are some arguments for why we should not use bootstrap methods and permutation tests in teaching Stat 101:
- Our usual cookbooks of formulas is such a resounding success, inspiring generations of students to further study (and rewarding their instructors with stellar reviews),
Bootstrapping and permutation tests make hard abstract concepts like sampling distributions, p-values, standard errors, and confidence intervals more concrete;
Todd Swanson – Hope College
I’ve had students complete projects in my introductory statistics course for at least 20 years. My expectations, requirements, and outcomes have evolved much over this time including how the data are gathered, what type of data I allow to be gathered, and how the project is presented. Things that were acceptable years ago are not acceptable now. The projects have become more and more like real research and the move in this direction has certainly been aided by using a simulation-based curriculum.
Projects now reflect the real research studies that we explore in class every day.
For more immediate conversations about these issues, also consider joining the Simulation-Based Inference Listserv. The SBI mailing list is intended for individuals interested in discussing pedagogical issues related to using simulation-based inference techniques (e.g., randomization tests) in introductory statistics courses as the primary introduction to statistical inference. For more information or to subscribe, go to https://www.causeweb.org/mailman/listinfo/sbi.
Valorie Zonnefeld, Dordt College
Have you ever thought about the reaction to the first slide rule in the 1620s? Do you think some people pulled up their noses, questioning whether students would forget their “calculations”? Did others dive in whole-heartedly, touting the advantages of teaching with their fancy new “slipsticks”? Regardless of the initial reaction, the slide rule has left its mark on the story line of mathematics. There is no question that technological developments continue to change how mathematics and statistics are taught.
The ability to use technology to simulate random phenonema has made statistics more approachable to many students.