In my course on Statistical Communication and Graphics, each class had a special guest star who would answer questions on his or her area of expertise. These were not “guest lectures”—there were specific things I wanted the students to learn in this course, it wasn’t the kind of seminar where they just kick back each […]

**Teaching**category.

## My namesake doesn’t seem to understand the principles of decision analysis

It says “Never miss another deadline.” But if you really could never miss your deadlines, you’d just set your deadlines earlier, no? It’s statics vs. dynamics all over again. That said, this advice seems reasonable: The author has also developed a foolproof method of structuring your writing, so that you make effective use of your […]

## McElreath’s *Statistical Rethinking: A Bayesian Course with Examples in R and Stan *

We’re not even halfway through with January, but the new year’s already rung in a new book with lots of Stan content: Richard McElreath (2016) Statistical Rethinking: A Bayesian Course with Examples in R and Stan. Chapman & Hall/CRC Press. This one got a thumbs up from the Stan team members who’ve read it, and […]

## Street-Fighting Probability and Street-Fighting Stats: 2 One-Week Modules

In a comment to my previous post on the Street-Fighting Math course, Alex wrote: Have you thought about incorporating this material into more conventional classes? I can see this being very good material for a “principles” section of a linear modeling or other applied statistics course. It could give students a sense for how to […]

## New course: Street-Fighting Math

I want to teach a course next year based on two books by Sanjoy Mahajan: Street-Fighting Mathematics and The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering. You can think of the two books as baby versions of Weisskopf’s 1969 classic, Modern Physics from an Elementary Point of View. Another book in the same vein is […]

## Guess what today’s kids are clicking on: My presentation at the Electronic Conference on Teaching Statistics

Changing everything at once: Student-centered Learning, computerized practice exercises, evaluation of student progress, and a modern syllabus to create a completely new introductory statistics course Andrew Gelman, Department of Statistics, Columbia University It should be possible to improve the much-despised introductory statistics course in several ways: (1) altering the classroom experience toward active learning, (2) […]

## You’ll never believe what this girl wrote in her diary (NSFW)

Arber Tasimi heard about our statistics diaries and decided to try it out in the psychology class he was teaching. The students liked his class but a couple of them pushed back against the diaries, describing the assignment as pointless or unhelpful in their learning. This made me think that it may be that a […]

## First, second, and third order bias corrections (also, my ugly R code for the mortality-rate graphs!)

As an applied statistician, I don’t do a lot of heavy math. I did prove a true theorem once (with the help of some collaborators), but that was nearly twenty years ago. Most of the time I walk along pretty familiar paths, just hoping that other people will do the mathematical work necessary for me […]

## You won’t believe these stunning transformations: How to parameterize hyperpriors in hierarchical models?

Isaac Armstrong writes: I was working through your textbook “Data Analysis Using Regression and Multilevel/Hierarchical Models” but wanted to learn more and started working through your “Bayesian Data Analysis” text. I’ve got a few questions about your rat tumor example that I’d like to ask. I’ve been trying to understand one of the hierarchical models […]

## Don’t miss this one: “Modern Physics from an Elementary Point of View”

I was googling *back of the envelope* for a recent post and I came across these lecture notes by Victor Weisskopf from 1969. I can no longer really follow this sort of thing—I really really wish this had been my textbook back when I was studying physics. If they’d taught us this stuff, I might’ve […]

## 3 postdoc opportunities you can’t miss—here in our group at Columbia! Apply NOW, don’t miss out!

Hey, just once, the Buzzfeed-style hype is appropriate. We have 3 amazing postdoc opportunities here, and you need to apply NOW. Here’s the deal: we’re working on some amazing projects. You know about Stan and associated exciting projects in computational statistics. There’s the virtual database query, which is the way I like to describe our […]

## Click here to get FREE tix to my webinar with Brad Efron this Wednesday!

The Royal Statistical Society (U.K.) has organized a discussion of a new paper, Frequentist accuracy of Bayesian estimates, by Brad Efron. The discussion will be an online event (a “webinar”) on 21 Oct 2015 (that’s right, “Back to the Future Day”) at noon 11am eastern time (4pm in the U.K.). Brad will present, I’ll ask […]

## Anti-cheating robots

Paul Alper writes: Surely you would like to comment on the amazing escalation in the anti-cheating tech world. I predict it will be followed by some clever software which makes it appear that the student enrolled is actually the one taking the exam. Reminiscent of the height of the cold war of counter weapons and […]

## Syllabus for my course on Communicating Data and Statistics

Actually the course is called Statistical Communication and Graphics, but I was griping about how few students were taking the class, and someone suggested the title Communicating Data and Statistics as being a bit more appealing. So I’ll go with that for now. I love love love this class and everything that’s come from it […]

## Stan Puzzle #1: Inferring Ability from Streaks

Inspired by X’s blog’s Le Monde puzzle entries, I have a little Stan coding puzzle for everyone (though you can solve the probabilty part of the coding problem without actually knowing Stan). This almost (heavy emphasis on “almost” there) makes me wish I was writing exams. Puzzle #1: Inferring Ability from Streaks Suppose a player […]

## What was the worst statistical communication experience you’ve ever had?

In one of the jitts for our statistical communication class we asked, “What was the worst statistical communication experience you’ve ever had?” And here were the responses (which I’m sharing with permission from the students): Not sure if this counts, but I used to work with a public health researcher who published a journal article […]

## Matlab/Octave and Python demos for BDA3

My Bayesian Data Analysis course at Aalto University started today with a record number of 84 registered students! In my course I have used some Matlab/Octave demos for several years. This summer Tuomas Sivula translated most of them to Python and Python notebook. Both Matlab/Octave and Python demos are now available at Github in hope they […]

## A political sociological course on statistics for high school students

Ben Frisch writes: I am designing a semester long non-AP Statistics course for high school juniors and seniors. I am wondering if you had some advice for the design of my class. My currentthinking for the design of the class includes: 0) Brief introduction to R/ R Studio and descriptive statistics and data sheet structure. […]

## Data-analysis assignments for BDA class?

In my Bayesian data analysis class this fall, I’m planning on doing some lecturing and class discussion, but the core of the course will be weekly data-analysis assignments where they do applied statistics using Stan (to fit models) and R (to pre-process the data and post-process the inferences). So, I need a bunch of examples. […]