Statistical Education Sessions at JSM 2000

Tom Short
Villanova University

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 6, Number 1 (Winter 2000)

The Section on Statistical Education will be the primary sponsor for three invited papers sessions at the Indianapolis meetings. The topics are diverse, and I'm sure that the speakers will be outstanding.

Session 1: Distance Learning in Statistics Education
This session fits the theme "Celebrate Diversity in Statistics" because distance education has the potential to reach students who are not able to attend traditional courses or who are not successful in a traditional classroom format. The presenters have all developed and used statistics materials in a distance context, and will share their experiences and philosophies.

The session was organized by John Holcomb at Youngstown State University. The speakers include Paul Velleman, from Cornell University, David Lane from Rice University, and Tom Boardman, Colorado State University. Don Edwards from the University of South Carolina will be the discussant.

Session 2: The Teaching of Statistics Across Disciplines and Departments.
This session consists of a panel discussion by statisticians who teach in different departments and disciplines. The panel was originally based on an NSF project conducted in 1998-1999 that gathered baseline data on the current teaching of introductory statistics courses, as four members of the panel participated as consultants to this project. Participants will describe current trends and issues in teaching the introductory course in their department or discipline and will comment specifically on desired student outcomes, content that is taught, the use of technology, instructional methods, and forms of student assessment. Panelists will represent the fields of mathematics, psychology, education, and business. In addition, a statistician in a statistics department that teaches courses for these disciplines will share her perspectives on teaching statistics across the disciplines.

Joan Garfield from the University of Minnesota has organized this panel discussion. The panelists are Jackie Dietz, North Carolina State University, Betsy Becker from Michigan State University, Dex Whittinghill, Rowan University, Jon Cryer, from the University of Iowa, and Gary McClelland from the University of Colorado.

Session 3: Using Technology to Develop Statistical Reasoning and Thinking.
There is a large variety of technology that can be used in the statistics classroom: graphing calculators, statistics packages, and simulation software. The speakers in this session will describe experiences in the use of technology to promote conceptual understanding and statistical reasoning. The speakers will consider the characteristics of activities that promote conceptual development and understanding. The session will also address the issue of assessment: How do we know that technology has improved student understanding and thinking?

Organized by Bob delMas from the University of Minnesota, the speakers in this session include John T. Behrens and Gene V. Glass from Arizona State University, Jackie Miller from the Ohio State University, Carl Lee from Central Michigan University, and Geoff Cumming, Neil Thomason, and Sue Finch, representing La Trobe University and the University of Melbourne, Australia. Beth Chance, from California Polytechnic State University, will be the discussant.

We're now in the process of soliciting abstracts for Topic Contributed sessions and Regular Contributed papers sessions, and I'm also looking for volunteers to serve as session chairs. Please contact me if you would like to get involved in making the Statistical Education Sessions at JSM 2000 a success.

See you in Indy in August!

Tom Short, JSM 2000 Program Chair, ASA Section on Statistical Education, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Villanova University Villanova, PA 19085-1699; (610) 519-6961,

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