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Volume 6, Number 3 (November 1998) ISSN: 1069-1898

Guido G. Gatti and Michael Harwell, "Advantages of Computer Programs Over Power Charts for the Estimation of Power" (71K)

Statistics and research design textbooks routinely highlight the importance of a priori estimation of power in empirical studies. Unfortunately, many of these textbooks continue to rely on difficult-to-read charts to estimate power. That these charts can lead students to estimate power incorrectly will not surprise those who have used them, but what is surprising is that textbooks continue to employ these charts when computer software for this purpose is widely available and relatively easy to use. The use of power charts is explored, and computer software that can be used to teach students to estimate power is illustrated using the SPSS and SAS data analysis programs. --GGG

Key Words: Noncentrality; Software; Statistics textbooks; Student learning.

Rhonda C. Magel, "Using Cooperative Learning in a Large Introductory Statistics Class" (29K)

This article discusses one active learning technique, cooperative learning, that can be used in large classes. This technique requires that students be divided into learning teams. A method for quickly dividing a large class of students into learning teams is presented. Two examples of cooperative learning exercises used in an introductory statistics class are given. These serve as illustrations of the type of cooperative learning exercises that can be assigned in a large class. In particular, these exercises were used in a class of 195 students. Preliminary findings by the instructor of the advantages of using cooperative learning exercises are discussed. --RCM

Key Words: Examples of exercises; Team selection.

Allan J. Rossman, Thomas H. Short, and Matthew T. Parks, "Bayes Estimators for the Continuous Uniform Distribution" (54K)

Classical estimators for the parameter of a uniform distribution on the interval $(0,\theta)$ are often discussed in mathematical statistics courses, but students are frequently left wondering how to distinguish which among the variety of classical estimators are better than the others. We show how classical estimators can be derived as Bayes estimators from a family of improper prior distributions. We believe that linking the estimation criteria in a Bayesian framework is of value to students in a mathematical statistics course, and we believe that the students benefit from the exposure to Bayesian methods. In addition, we compare classical and Bayesian interval estimators for the parameter $\theta$ and illustrate the Bayesian analysis with an example. --AJR

Key Words: Highest posterior density interval; Improper prior distribution.

Gary Smith, "Learning Statistics By Doing Statistics" (43K)

To help students develop statistical reasoning, a traditional introductory statistics course was modified to incorporate a semester-long sequence of projects, with written and oral reports of the results. Student test scores improved dramatically, and students were overwhelmingly positive in their assessment of this new approach. --GS

Key Words: Activity-based learning; Introductory statistics; Learning by doing; Team projects.

R. Webster West and R. Todd Ogden, "Interactive Demonstrations for Statistics Education on the World Wide Web" (36K)

The World Wide Web (WWW) is a tool that can be used in many ways for basic statistics education. Using the latest WWW technology, educators can now include interactive demonstrations in the form of Java applets within their WWW materials. Six example applets developed by the authors are introduced and discussed. Suggestions for class use are made, and instructions for incorporating the applets within a WWW document are given. --RWW

Key Words: Applets; Central limit theorem; Confidence intervals; Histogram bin width; Influential points; Power; Java; Let's Make a Deal.

"Teaching Bits: A Resource for Teachers of Statistics" (40K)

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

Jeffrey S. Simonoff, "Move Over, Roger Maris: Breaking Baseball's Most Famous Record" (25K)

The race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa to break the major league season home run record captured the attention of sports fans (and even non-sports fans) during the summer of 1998. In this article the game-by-game home run performance of each of these players is provided, along with some team statistics for each game. This dataset provides a rich set of possibilities of analyses in both introductory and advanced statistics courses, including graphical exploratory displays, categorical data analysis, analysis of variance, logistic regression, and smoothing methods for Poisson and binomial data. --JSS

Key Words: Contingency table; Exploratory data analysis; Smoothing; Sports statistics.

Editorial Board for Volume 6, Number 3

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