Minutes of the
11th Isolated Statisticians Meeting

Sunday, August 5, 7:00pm to 8:30pm.  Hilton Hotel, Fayette Room.

Respectfully submitted by Nate Wetzel (scribe) and Dex Whittinghill (editor).

There were 48 people in attendance.

0.  Dex Whittinghill (Moderator) introduced himself, welcomed everyone, and started the traditional everyone-introduces-themselves around the room.  Latecomers did the same.

1.  Dex introduced the formal inception of the new Mathematical Association of America’s SIGMAA on Statistics Education.  They first met as Isolated Teachers of Statistics in Baltimore in January of 1998, and this last January marked the SIGMAA’s first business meeting.

The SIGMAA has organized two sessions for the Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMMs) in San Diego in January 2002.  There is (was!) a call for papers on the AMS website, or you could e-mail Carolyn Cuff of Westminster College at ccuff@westminster.edu.

Any MAA member interested in statistics education should join.

[Editor’s note:  I apologize for the tardiness of these minutes, and hope that it did not prevent you from submitting a paper at the JMMs.]

2.  Isostat e-mail list.  Although there had been a few problems with the ‘Isostat’ list at Oberlin, Jeff Witmer says that things are OK.  He did ask that folks check that their email addresses were up to date, both at the meeting, and periodically.  Your home institution can change something on your outgoing mail, and then ‘Isostat’ will not recognize you!

Web Course Management Software.  John McKenzie of Babson College led a discussion on the subject.  Most of the discussion centered around WebCT and Blackboard (sp?).  Also mentioned was ‘e-campus.’

For WebCT:  consensus was that it is cumbersome, but has the advantage that only your students have access to the materials (not he whole web, etc.).  [Editor’s note:  The latest version of WebCT is better than the older versions, but I still find it cumbersome.  I have just been using it to post stuff.]

For Blackboard:  it is less cumbersome, and students seem to be familiar with it.  It also supports e-mail lists and external links.

For both:  they are easy to start up (for the student) good for big classes, will keep grades (WebCT may be harder), students can make anonymous postings on bulletin boards, and support chat rooms.  If you are used to one it can be hard to switch to another, or back-and-forth.

The biggest issue raised was that the jury is still out at many schools as to who owns the material once you put it on line.  Apparently there is an AAUP statement on intellectual property of/for websites.  You might start at http://www.aaup.org/States.htm or http://www.aaup.org/.

There is a piece of software called ‘autograding’ (homemade@Dartmouth) which helps with grading.

Meeting time.  Dex led a discussion on the meeting time for the annual ISM.  After many suggestions (including 11am Sunday, or sometime near the Stat Ed Section business meeting, the consensus seemed to be leave it at 7pm on Sunday.  It is a good time to allow people to mix early in the meetings (not leaving out those who come Sunday).  [Editor’s note:  The possibility of meeting right after the ASA Open Meeting (6-7:30pm) has drawbacks.  Those who go to the Open Meeting would not get to eat until late, and then we overlap even more with the 8pm Opening Mixer.]

ASA membership.  Linda Young, Chair of the Board of Director’s Task Force on Membership, led a discussion on ways to increase ASA membership.  [Details of the discussion are with John McKenzie.  Issues that arose included why people leave, don’t leave, join or don’t join the ASA.  Only a handful of people did the homework assignment of asking colleagues or friends who are interested in statistics or statistics education, and who are NOT members of the ASA, why they are not members and/or why they let their membership lapse.  Sigh.]


a)  Ann Cannon of Cornell College will be the next Moderator of the yearly August ISM.
b)  An announcement was made concerning the MAA’s (?) NEXT program for young Ph.D.s, which can include statisticians.
c)  On September 22, 2001, the sixth New England Isolated Statisticians Meeting was top have been held.
d)  Dex was given a round of applause for his 5 years of moderating the August ISM.