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Archive of posts filed under the Teaching category.

Damn, I was off by a factor of 2!

I hate when that happens. Demography is tricky. Oh well, as they say in astronomy, who cares, it was less than an order of magnitude!

The latest episode in my continuing effort to use non-sports analogies

In a unit about the law of large numbers, sample size, and margins of error, I used the notorious beauty, sex, and power example: A researcher, working with a sample of size 3000, found that the children of beautiful parents were more likely to be girls, compared to the children of less-attractive parents. Can such […]

I like the clever way they tell the story. It’s a straightforward series of graphs but the reader has to figure out where to click and what to do, which makes the experience feel more like a voyage of discovery.

Jonathan Falk asks what I think of this animated slideshow by Matthew Klein on “How Americans Die”: Please click on the above to see the actual slideshow, as this static image does not do it justice. What do I think? Here was my reaction: It is good, but I was thrown off by the very […]

How to read (in quantitative social science). And by implication, how to write.

It all started when I was reading Chris Blattman’s blog and noticed this: One of the most provocative and interesting field experiments I [Blattman] have seen in this year: Poor people often do not make investments, even when returns are high. One possible explanation is that they have low aspirations and form mental models of […]

Students don’t know what’s best for their own learning

[This post is by Aki] This is my first blog posting. Arthur Poropat at Griffith University has a great posting Students don’t know what’s best for their own learning about two recent studies which came to the same conclusion: university students evaluate their teachers more positively when they learn less. My favorite part is That is why many […]

Quick tips on giving research presentations

Hi, I’m writing this so I can refer to it when covering “giving a presentation” in my statistical communication class. The general idea is for me to spend less time in class talking and more time helping out students with their ideas. So, if I have any general advice on presentations, let me give it […]

Leif and Uri need to hang out with a better class of statisticians

Noted psychology researchers and methods skeptics Leif Nelson and Uri Simonsohn write: A recent Psych Science (.pdf) paper found that sports teams can perform worse when they have too much talent. For example, in Study 3 they found that NBA teams with a higher percentage of talented players win more games, but that teams with […]

I (almost and inadvertently) followed Dan Kahan’s principles in my class today, and that was a good thing (would’ve even been more of a good thing had I realized what I was doing and done it better, but I think I will do better in the future, which has already happened by the time you read this; remember, the blog is on a nearly 2-month lag)

As you might recall, the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor says that to explain a concept to an unbeliever, explain it conditionally. For example, if you want to talk evolution with a religious fundamentalist, don’t try to convince him or her that evolution is true; instead preface each explanation with, “According to the theory of evolution […]

Princeton Abandons Grade Deflation Plan . . .

. . . and Kaiser Fung is unhappy. In a post entitled, “Princeton’s loss of nerve,” Kaiser writes: This development is highly regrettable, and a failure of leadership. (The new policy leaves it to individual departments to do whatever they want.) The recent Alumni publication has two articles about this topic, one penned by President […]

“Patchwriting” is a Wegmanesque abomination but maybe there’s something similar that could be helpful?

Reading Thomas Basbøll’s blog I came across a concept I’d not previously heard about, “patchwriting,” which is defined as “copying from a source text and deleting some words, altering grammatical structures, or plugging in one synonym for another.” (See here for further discussion.) As Basbøll writes, this is simply a variant of plagiarism, indeed it’s […]