Allan Rossman
Dickinson College
1996 Section Program Chair

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 2, Number 2 (Summer 1996)

Should we try to teach Bayesian statistics to undergraduates? What software programs are being designed to help students learn statistics rather than just do statistics? How can we evaluate the success or failure of new approaches to teaching statistics? These are just a few of the questions that will be addressed in sessions sponsored by the Section on Statistical Education at the 1996 Joint Statistical Meetings to be held on August 4-8 in Chicago.

The Statistical Education sessions kick off with a bang on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 with an invited session on teaching Bayesian statistics to undergraduates. Don Berry and Jim Albert present the Bayesian viewpoint, while David Moore offers reasons to hesitate and Jeff Witmer discusses pros and cons. The middle of the week (Tuesday at 10:30 and Wednesday at 8:30) sees two invited sessions on technology, as George Cobb, Dennis Pearl, Paul Velleman, Bill Meeker, Dennis Wackerly, Steve Cohen, and David Lane all present projects which use software to help students learn about statistics. Sessions conclude on Thursday morning at 10:30 with Joan Garfield, Carol Blumberg, Joel Greenhouse, and Marsha Lovett participating in a panel discussion on questions of evaluating reform projects in statistics education.

Another highlight of the meeting will be Monday's roundtable lunch discussion groups, organized by Roxy Peck. Our Section is sponsoring eight tables on the following topics:

Other highlights of the meeting will include an invited poster session on case studies from the Academe/Industry Collaboration Project (Mon. at 2:00) and special contributed paper sessions on trends in Introductory Applied Statistics Courses (Wed. at 2:00) and on Isolated Statisticians in Education (Wed. at 10:30). Still other special sessions of interest include the College Bowl (Tues. at 10:30 and Wed. at 10:30), Special Presentation by the winners of the Undergraduate Data Analysis Contest (Thur. at 8:30), and a Special Panel Discussion on effective teaching in industry and academia (Wed. at 8:30). A plethora of contributed paper sessions and poster sessions round out the many ways in which innovative ideas regarding the teaching of statistics will be exchanged at this meeting. You can consult the May issue of Amstat News for preliminary program information on dates and times of these sessions as well as the titles and speakers for individual presentations.

I thank the many people who volunteered to organize sessions or give presentations for the Statistics Education session. My only regret as Program Chair is that the large number of excellent abstracts that I received left me no choice but to schedule several sessions at the same times. I apologize in advance to those who will bemoan the difficult decisions that this dilemma poses.

I encourage you to attend the Chicago meeting and am confident that you will encounter many very fine sessions on Statistical Education.

For further information contact:

Allan Rossman
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Dickinson College
Carlisle PA 17013-2896
Phone: (717) 245-1668
FAX:(717) 245-1690

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