latest issue of Technology Innovations of Statistics Education, edited by Rob Gould of the University of California at Los Angeles, presents three very distinct visions of the the possibilities for a future statistics textbook. These articles are based on a session organized by Joan Garfield at the 2011 Joint Statistical Meetings, in Miami, Florda.
Three members of the CATALST team—Andrew Zieffler, Rebekah
Isaak, and Joan Garfield—discuss the role of textbook in
developing an introductory undergraduate course based on using
simulation, randomization, and the bootstrap to develop the core logic
The innovation is primarily pedagogical. Zieffler et al. discuss how they found that having
a unified, structured document to be very useful in supporting
students' learning in an activity-based, student-centered course. The
latest version of the textbook is available for free from Catalyst Press under a Creative Commons license which allows modification and incorporation of the material in for-profit works. (See our previous post
on this book). The article discusses future plans for further
innovations to the book such as incorporating videos directly into an
Cetinkaya-Rundel, Diez, and Barr also present a free product, OpenIntro Statistics,
which is totally open source (the source code is fully available for
modification). Their approach is based on a normal-theory based
approach to the introductory course, chosen to encourage wide adoption,
and the authors discuss the advantage inherent in having such a
radically open process for development.
Webster West of North Carolina State University presents a vision that
is more technologically intensive, including algorithmically generated
exercises and tight integration of the textbook with the course
management system and analysis software. His experiences partnering with
Pearson Education and developing StatCrunch
speak to how one might integrate technology with widely used,
mainstream textbooks (though he describes himself as "closet radical").
The whole issue
is well worth reading, because it features some lively and skeptical
comments representing conflicting opinions from statistics education
luminaries Beth Chance and Allan Rossman, George Cobb, Paul Velleman,
and Jessica Utts, followed by responses from the authors.