Learning by Doing: Using Hands-on Applications in Basic Probability and Statistics

10:30 am on Tuesday, December 11, 2012
12:00 pm on Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Kenmore Conference Room, 1 Silber Way, 9th floor
We describe the main innovations in the redesign of MA213, “Basic Probability and Statistics,” the first half of a one-year basic statistics series offered by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The overall goals of the redesign were to emphasize statistical literacy and develop statistical thinking, provide hands-on experience working with real data, stress conceptual understanding of statistical theory, foster active learning, and integrate new technology in the classroom. These goals were achieved by exposing students to a combination of lectures, group problem solving in studio-style lab sessions, and project-based learning methods, enhanced by a variety of technological innovations including an audience response system ("clickers") and statistical software. In this Teaching Talk we present and discuss these innovations and their implementation and impact in the organization of future iterations of the course. We conclude with an initial assessment of which new features were most successful in achieving our stated goals -- as well as which features require further refinement -- and offer recommendations for the redesign of similar courses. Luis Carvalho, CAS