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Archive of posts filed under the Teaching category.

The (hypothetical) phase diagram of a statistical or computational method

So here’s the deal. You have a new idea, call it method C, and you try it out on problems X, Y, and Z and it works well—it destroys the existing methods A and B. And then you publish a paper with the pithy title, Method C Wins. And, hey, since we’re fantasizing here anyway, […]

Tell me what you don’t know

We’ll ask an expert, or even a student, to “tell me what you know” about some topic. But now I’m thinking it makes more sense to ask people to tell us what they don’t know. Why? Consider your understanding of a particular topic to be divided into three parts: 1. What you know. 2. What […]

“What then should we teach about hypothesis testing?”

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous writes in: Last week, I was looking forward to a blog post titled “Why continue to teach and use hypothesis testing?” I presume that this scheduled post merely became preempted by more timely posts. But I am still interested in reading the exchange that will follow. My feeling is […]

Plans for reboot of Statistical Communication class

At the end of my course on Statistical Communication and Graphics last semester, I enlisted some of the students to help plan for the new version of the course (which starts next week). I took a bunch of notes on the blackboard and then a student took pictures for me. I had the idea that […]

Workshop on science communication for graduate students

Nathan Sanders writes:

Planning my class for this semester: Thinking aloud about how to move toward active learning?

I’m teaching two classes this semester: – Design and Analysis of Sample Surveys (in the political science department, but the course has lots of statistics content); – Statistical Communication and Graphics (in the statistics department, but last time I taught it, many of the students were from other fields). I’ve taught both classes before. I […]

What to do in 2015: Your statistics diary

For the last two weeks of our class on statistical communication, I gave my students the following assignment: Every day, you will write an entry in your statistics diary. Just set up a text or Word file and add to it each day. The diary entries can be anything. They can be short slice-of-life observations […]

“Why continue to teach and use hypothesis testing?”

Greg Werbin points us to an online discussion of the following question: Why continue to teach and use hypothesis testing (with all its difficult concepts and which are among the most statistical sins) for problems where there is an interval estimator (confidence, bootstrap, credibility or whatever)? What is the best explanation (if any) to be […]

What to think about in 2015: How can the principles of statistical quality control be applied to statistics education

Happy new year! A few years ago, Eric Loken and I wrote, Statisticians: When we teach, we don’t practice what we preach: As statisticians, we give firm guidance in our consulting and research on the virtues of random sampling, randomized treatment assignments, valid and reliable measurements, and clear specification of the statistical procedures that will […]

I’m sure that my anti-Polya attitude is completely unfair

Reading this post in which Mark Palko quotes from the classic “How to Solve It” by the legendary mathematician and math educator George Polya, I was reminded of my decades-long aversion to Polya, an attitude that might seem odd given that (a) Polya has an excellent reputation, and (b) I’ve never read more than a […]