Sunday, June 2, 2013

Change: Catalysts at the 2013 US Conference on Teaching Statistics


Many of University of Minnesota's statistics education group sallied forth to wet, warm North Carolina to share and learn with statistics educators around the country at the US Conference on Teaching Statistics (USCOTS) 2013! The conference theme this year, "Change", is very dear to our group, and throughout the conference, we presented some of what we've learned about rebooting statistics education to serve students better. Along the way, we learned from the wide variety of perspectives and insights on the discipline from statisticians, education researchers, and teachers.

Right before the conference, we led two fully enrolled workshops:

Bob delMas (second from left), along with Ph.D. students Laura Ziegler, N. Parker, and Laura Le, taught a workshop on UMN's CATALST curriculum, which exclusively uses simulation and resampling methods to teach a post-secondary introductory statistics course.  

Michelle Everson (right), with Master's student Ethan Brown, Ph.D. student Rebekah Isaak, and Master's student Anelise Sabbag, discussed practical tips and tricks for teaching a dynamic, engaging online statistics course.

Did we stop there? Of course not. The conference opened that night with a series of 5-minute presentations, including one by Bob delMas about his wizardly journey to improve statistics education.

Bob led a breakout session on Friday on evaluating new curriculum, using materials developed by the eATLAS project, along with Laura Le, Anelise Sabbag, and Elizabeth Fry.

Michelle, the perennial evangelist of online statistics education, participated in two more breakout sessions—one on time-management in online statistics courses, and another on the flipped classroom, as well as leading a lunch discussion group on planning the 2014 electronic Conference on Teaching Statistics (eCOTS).

Liz, N., and Ethan, who've been working with Joan Garfield to improve Wikipedia's coverage of statistics education, led another lunch discussion table to gather feedback and new collaborators on what should be included there.

The University of Minnesota's Catalysts for Change were inspired and motivated by this year's USCOTS, including the plenary speeches from Macalester College's Daniel Kaplan and Nicholas Horton (soon to be at Amherst College), North Carolina State University's Hollylynne Stohl Lee, Harvard University's Xiao-Li Meng, and University of Auckland's Chris Wild, and many more.  The slides of these speeches can be downloaded from the conference website.

Here's all the Catalysts who could make it, smiling in the energizing glow of the shared passion for excellence in statistics education!