28 August 2012

Statistics is an interesting subject – really!

Something has happened to give statistics a bad name, when it is an inherently fascinating and relevant subject. You know what I mean – you tell people that you teach, or work in or study statistics and they either depart, glaze over or tell you that it was their worst subject. How this came about is a topic for another day. For today I am interested in how we can change this. I have just returned from three weeks in Victoria, Australia, where my family and I spoke and performed at an autism conference, we visited with family and we […]
27 March 2012

Teaching statistical language

I received a phone call from the company that leases us our equipment. I got quite excited when the salesman told me they would waive the purchase price of a new iPad. Then I decided it was time to clarify things. “Ok,” I said, “You are using the term ‘purchase price’. To me that means the amount you pay for something when you buy it. You are telling me that if I get a new iPad on the same lease as the old iPad you will waive the purchase price. This sounds great to me, but I can’t imagine I’ve […]
20 January 2012

Textbooks and horseless carriages

Why do my students like me and the bookreps don’t? Because I do not require a textbook for either of my large entry level courses in Statistics and Operations Research. I have found that so few students use any prescribed text, that it is pointless prescribing one. I have found other ways to engage students and help them to learn the skills, attitudes and content that I believe are necessary. The other problem was that I never found a text that aimed to develop the same skills, attitudes and content that I wanted them to. Too many of them seemed […]