Friday, July 30, 2010


The Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching – MERLOT ( Announces the 2010 MERLOT Awards for Exemplary Online Learning Resources

This program recognizes and promotes outstanding online resources designed to enhance teaching and learning. The award is granted to honor the authors and developers of these resources for their contributions to the academic community. Each of the MERLOT Editorial Boards selects an outstanding resource from its discipline to receive the MERLOT Classics Award. MERLOT considers this learning material an exemplary online learning resource and it is now recognized as so on the MERLOT website listing.

The winner of the 2010 MERLOT Statistics Classic Award is:
ARTIST (Assessment Resource Tools for Improving Statistical Thinking), authored by Joan Garfield of University of Minnesota
The Editor of the MERLOT Statistics Editorial Board has this to say about the Learning Material:

The ARTIST website makes a great contribution to the field of Statistics Education by including many assessment resources for instructors (such as an assessment builder with hundreds of questions about a variety of different topics, samples of authentic assessments such as project descriptions and article or graph critique assignments, and links to many other assessment resources such as papers about assessment and implementation issues related to assessment). This peer-reviewed resource continues to be used by many statistics instructors who are looking for ways to improve their assessments and better understand the ways in which their students are thinking and reasoning about statistics.

The winners of the 2010 Classics award were honored with a ceremony at the 2010 Emerging Technologies Symposium co-sponsored by MERLOT and the Sloan Consortium on July 21st in San Jose, California.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Catalyst Run at JSM

Calling all Catalysts for Change

We would like to invite all of you to the first (and perhaps last) Catalysts for Change 5k Jog and Jabber/Walk and Talk. Given the running vacancy associated with the cancelation of the Gertrude Cox scholarship run at this year's JSM, we have decided to host our own run. The event will not be timed nor will there be any race officials (or anything official about it). There will be, however, prizes awarded for the best use of cooking metaphors shared during the event, and post run treats will be provided.
  • Who: Catalysts for Change
  • When: Tuesday August 3, 2010 @ 6:30 AM
  • Why 6:30?: Because there is a session at 8:30
  • Where: Westin Grand, 433 Robson Street, Vancouver

You can add this event to your Google Calendar using the button below.

See you in Vancouver!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Statistics Instructors Lost in Cyberspace: A New Online Statistics Teaching Discussion Group

This group connects online statistics instructors and provides a place for them to share ideas and resources. It is a place where those of us who teach online can support one another, collaborate, and commiserate. Teaching online can pose many unique challenges and opportunities for the statistics instructor, and sometimes, it's nice to share these things with others who understand, and to get new ideas about the many things that can be done in the online statistics course. If you would like more information about this group, please contact Dr. Michelle Everson at

Yesterday was a busy day for the Catalyst team...

Work on developing new versions of the Statistics Teaching Inventory: Michelle met with Auja and Jiyoon to discuss ways to adapt the STI for online instruction.

Getting the CATALST course ready for fall semester: Joan worked with Rebekah and Laura to put together lesson plans; reformat activities and extensions; and find readings for Unit 1.

Preparing for the CAUSE Business Meeting at JSM: Andy met with Danny Kaplan to put together a prototype of a Google map for CAUSE.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


The CATALST project is an NSF funded project is designed to develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate a radically different but much needed introductory statistics course. The proposed course builds on best practices and materials developed in statistics education, research and theory from cognitive science, as well as materials and methods that are successfully achieving parallel goals in other disciplines (e.g., mathematics and engineering education) including the use of simulation to carry out inferential analyses. 

Research has suggested that students often leave statistics courses able to perform routine procedures and tests, but lacking the big picture of the statistical process that will allow them to solve unfamiliar problems and to articulate and apply their understanding. Inspired by a metaphor introduced by Alan Schoenfeld, we are hoping that the CATALST course will teach students to "cook" rather than just to "follow recipes”.

To read more about this project, or to access the materials created to date, please visit the CATALST website.

Catalyst Research Team

We are a collaborative research team of statistics education professionals who are striving to accelerate the change of content and pedagogy in introductory statistics. This blog is an avenue for us to make our work more visible. It is also a tool for other catalysts who wish to inspire us, collaborate with us, or simply follow our work.

In the academic year to come, we hope to update this blog regularly as our team works on various research projects we are involved with. In upcoming posts, we will introduce you to many of these projects, as well as the people involved with them. We welcome any feedback or comments about the blog, and the work we are doing. If you would prefer to email us rather than post a comment, the team email address is

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
                                                                                             –Margaret Mead