Hi, R. Could you please prepare 50 handouts of the attached draft course plan (2-sided printing is fine) to hand out to students? I prefer to do this online but it sounds like there’s some difficulty with that, so we can do handouts on this first day of class.
My Amtrak is rescheduled and it is scheduled to arrive in Boston at 4:35. This should give me plenty of time to get to class on time, but Amtrak is sometimes delayed. So if class begins and I am not there yet, please start without me!
If I’m not there, please do the following:
- Get to the room 10 minutes early. Before class begins, chat with the students as they are coming in. You can talk about any topic, as long as it’s statistical: tell them about your qualifying exam, or discuss how to express uncertainty in weather forecasts, or talk about the Celtics (ha ha). No need to be lecturing here, just get them on track, thinking and talking about statistics. Also during that time, please get the projector set up so that, when I do arrive, I can plug in my laptop and be all ready to go.
- Once class begins (I don’t remember the convention at Harvard; will it start exactly at the scheduled time, or 5 minutes later?), start right away with a statistics story. I have stories of my own prepared, but if I’m not there, you can do one yourself. Prepare something; feel free to use the blackboard. It doesn’t have to be a long story; 5 or 10 minutes will be fine.
- Then write the following on the blackboard: “(a) Say something about yourself or your work in relation to statistics, (b) Why are you in this class?”
- Have the students divide into pairs. In pairs, they meet each other:
(3 min) A talks to B
(2 min) B asks a question to A, and A responds
(3 min) B talks to A
(2 min) A asks a question to B, and B responds
They are supposed to be talking to each other about their work in relation to statistics.
- If not all the students fit in the room, that’s not really a problem; you can have the overflow people in the lounge area, doing the same thing.
Once the students have done the intros in pairs, take a few volunteers (or, if there are no volunteers, pick some students and ask them to pick other students) to stand up and answer questions (a) and (b) above. Use these to lead the class into discussions that loop around to consider the relevance and different varieties of statistical communication.
Really, this can take all the class period. But I assume that at some point I’ll arrive—how delayed could Amtrak be, after all?? I just wanted to give you some contingency plan so that nobody has to worry if it’s 6:25 and I’m still not there.