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Volume 19 (2011)

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An International Journal on the Teaching and Learning of Statistics

JSE Volume 19, Number 3 Abstracts

David Afshartous and Richard A. Preston
Key Results of Interaction Models With Centering

We consider the effect on estimation of simultaneous variable centering and interaction effects in linear regression. We technically define, review, and amplify many of the statistical issues for interaction models with centering in order to create a useful and compact reference for teachers, students, and applied researchers. In addition, we investigate a sequence of models that have an interaction effect and/or variable centering and derive expressions for the change in the regression coefficients between models from both an intuitive and mathematical perspective. We demonstrate how these topics may be employed to motivate discussion of other important areas, e.g., misspecification bias, multicollinearity, design of experiments, and regression surfaces. This paper presents a number of results also given elsewhere but in a form that gives a unified view of the topic. The examples cited are from the area of medical statistics.

Key Words: Beta coefficients; Introductory statistics; Medical statistics; Misspecification bias; Multicollinearity; Multiple regression.

Lawrence M. Lesser and Kerrie Kephart
Setting the Tone: A Discursive Case Study of Problem-Based Inquiry Learning to Start a Graduate Statistics Course for In-Service Teachers

The first day of a course has great potential to set the tone for the entire course, planting the seeds for habits of mind and questioning and setting in motion expectations for classroom discourse. Rather than let the first meeting contain little besides going over the syllabus, the instructor (Lesser) decided to use two sustained open-ended scenarios to put in place from the start the problem-based inquiry learning approach he wanted to use throughout most of the course. After reviewing the literatures involved, this paper shares a description of the lesson's design and instructional cycle and a discourse analysis of that lesson's implementation. Strategies identified by the case study analysis include varying participation structures, well-crafted problems, and the instructor's role as facilitator and co-learner.

Key Words: Counterintuitive; Cognitive conflict; Discourse; First day of class; Simpson's paradox; Representation; Teachers.

Amy S. Nowacki
Using the 4MAT Framework to Design a Problem-based Learning Biostatistics Course

The study presents and applies the 4MAT theoretical framework to educational planning to transform a biostatistics course into a problem-based learning experience. Using a four-question approach, described are specific activities/materials utilized at both the class and course levels. Two web-based instruments collected data regarding student satisfaction with the course and perception of the field of biostatistics (Attitudes Toward Statistics Survey). Student satisfaction and perception increased significantly following implementation of the new curriculum as compared to previous ratings. The results indicated that students felt more strongly that the seminars were well-organized, encouraged participation/discussion and integrated concepts across the curriculum. Additionally, recommendations for implementation are provided regarding problem-based learning techniques and the adaptation of our approach to more general settings are addressed.

Key Words: Active learning; Student attitudes; Curriculum assessment; Course evaluation.

Ivan P. Ramler and Jessica L. Chapman
Introducing Statistical Research to Undergraduate Mathematical Statistics Students using the Guitar Hero Video Game Series

In this article we describe a semester-long project, based on the popular video game series Guitar Hero, designed to introduce upper-level undergraduate statistics students to statistical research. Some of the goals of this project are to help students develop statistical thinking that allows them to approach and answer open-ended research questions, improve statistical programming skills, and investigate computational statistical methods, such as resampling methods and power simulations. We outline the steps of the project, including developing a method to address the research question ("Are missed notes grouped together in parts of a song?"), statistical programming (implemented in R), collecting data, estimation, and hypothesis testing - including statistical power. The project, as described in this article, was intended as a semester-long project for Mathematical Statistics students, but would work equally well as a capstone project. We discuss modifications to make this project appropriate for different courses, including graduate-level courses. The appendix includes the handouts provided to the students, several songs recorded by our class, some of the methods created by the students, and R code for implementing various aspects of the project.

Key Words: Active Learning; Bootstrap Methods; Permutation Tests; Resampling Methods; Course Project; Simulation.

Interviews with Statistics Educators

Allan Rossman and Joan Garfield
Interview with Joan Garfield

Joan Garfield is Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and a recipient of ASA's Founders Award. She received the United States Conference On Teaching Statistics Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. The following interview took place via email on October 16 - 26, 2011.

Teaching Bits

Audbjorg Bjornsdottir and Joan Garfield
Teaching Bits: Statistics Education Articles from 2011

We located 38 articles that have been published from January 2011 through October 2011 that pertained to statistics education. In this column, we highlight a few of these articles that represent a variety of different journals that include statistics education in their focus. We also provide information about the journal and a link to their website so that abstracts of additional articles may be accessed and viewed.

Michelle Everson and Ellen Gundlach
Teaching Bits: What's New with CAUSEweb and MERLOT

CAUSEweb ( and MERLOT ( are online resources for statistics educators. MERLOT has peer-reviewed applets, videos, simulations, tutorials, and activities which work well for either online or traditional classes. CAUSEweb has many of these resources (plus others, including jokes, cartoons, songs, and quotes), but also serves as a contact point for professional development opportunities such as conferences, workshops, and webinars

Data Sets and Stories

Dean De Cock
Ames, Iowa: Alternative to the Boston Housing Data as an End of Semester Regression Project

This paper presents a data set describing the sale of individual residential property in Ames, Iowa from 2006 to 2010. The data set contains 2930 observations and a large number of explanatory variables (23 nominal, 23 ordinal, 14 discrete, and 20 continuous) involved in assessing home values. I will discuss my previous use of the Boston Housing Data Set and I will suggest methods for incorporating this new data set as a final project in an undergraduate regression course.

Key Words: Multiple Regression; Linear Models; Assessed Value; Group Project.

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