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Volume 6, Number 2 (July 1998) ISSN: 1069-1898

Glenys Bishop, "A Series of Tutorials for Teaching Statistical Concepts in an Introductory Course. I. Sampling From an Aerial Photograph" (34K)

This paper outlines one of a series of tutorials developed as part of an introductory statistics course for Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences students. Here we compare two methods of sampling from an aerial photograph to obtain an estimate of the proportion of a particular type of vegetation. One method, transect sampling, is traditionally used by field ecologists, while the other is simple random sampling in a plane. Preparation details and possible extensions to the tutorial are described. --GB

Key Words: Excel; Natural resources science; Proportions; Sampling distribution; Spatial statistics.

William C. Rinaman, "Revising a Basic Statistics Course" (46K)

Members of the faculty of Le Moyne College made sweeping changes in the basic statistics course provided for the social and life sciences by the Department of Mathematics. The departments involved undertook an intensive collaboration. Intense scrutiny was given to the purpose and goals of the course. The result is a course that is significantly different from its predecessor. It places more emphasis on concepts and technology. A laboratory component was added to give students experience with Minitab and messy datasets. The implementation of the course had the expected problems. These are documented along with what was done to improve the course the second time it was offered. --WCR

Key Words: Collaboration; Group work; Laboratory; Minitab; Service course.

Eric R. Sowey, "Statistical Vistas: Perspectives on Purpose and Structure" (49K)

A body of research on enhancing the teaching of statistics has been accumulating now for more than fifty years since the pioneering contributions of Wishart (1939) and Hotelling (1940). Yet undergraduates continue to find courses in statistics unappealing. Perhaps this is because their teachers -- even those clear and conscientious in explaining subject-matter detail, and thoughtful in their reading of the statistics education literature -- too commonly fail to open statistical vistas, and thus fail to convey a rich understanding of the purpose and structure of the subject. A vista is inherently a perspective view. This paper shows, with examples, how perspective views can illuminate both purpose and structure. A well-devised perspective on purpose, offered early, can make each topic in the course immediately meaningful. And perspectives on structure, unveiled strategically, can highlight the coherence of statistics. The author's experience over twenty-five years shows that teaching with perspectives can help to produce that ideal -- long-term retention of learning. --ERS

Key Words: Effective use of overviews in teaching statistics; Long-term learning.

Teresa Villagarcía, "The Use of Consulting Work to Teach Statistics to Engineering Students" (36K)

This article presents the use of an interesting consulting problem as a practical exercise for a basic course in statistics for engineering students. The consulting problem considered is the estimation of the reliability of the Spanish power generating system. We have used this problem to illustrate the distribution of sums of random variables, the central limit theorem and its limitations, and other issues. We have also designed a practical exercise to show the students the use of Monte Carlo simulation to solve part of the statistical problem. --TV

Key Words: Convolution; Monte Carlo simulation; Power generating systems; Reliability.

"Teaching Bits: A Resource for Teachers of Statistics" (36K)

This column features "bits" of information sampled from a variety of sources that may be of interest to teachers of statistics. Bob delMas abstracts information from the literature on teaching and learning statistics, while Bill Peterson summarizes articles from the news and other media that may be used with students to provoke discussions or serve as a basis for classroom activities or student projects. --JG

Dan Nettleton, "Investigating Home Court Advantage" (32K)

Scores of 1997 Big Ten Conference men's basketball games involving the University of Iowa Hawkeyes are analyzed with a series of scatterplots accompanied by formal bivariate statistical inference. The analyses reveal that the Hawkeyes' defensive performance is largely unaffected by the site of the game, while offensive performance dips significantly in games played on opposing teams' courts. --DN

Key Words: Bivariate data; Confidence region; Paired comparisons; Scatterplot; Simultaneous confidence intervals.

Mitchell R. Watnik, "Pay for Play: Are Baseball Salaries Based on Performance?" (16K)

Well-defined measures of performance are readily available for baseball players, making the modeling of their salaries a popular statistical exercise. In this article, the salaries for non-pitchers for the 1992 Major League Baseball season are provided, along with numerous measures of the players' previous year's performances. Also included are indicators of each player's ability to switch teams. This dataset is useful in upper-division regression analysis courses because it exhibits many "real world" difficulties that can be remedied using techniques outlined in the course. --MRW

Key Words: Exploratory data analysis; Model selection and validation; Regression; Stepwise model selection.

Editorial Board for Volume 6, Number 2

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