By Dr. Krysten Pampel and Dr. Ashley Nicoloff
One of my favorite classes that I get to teach every semester is my statistics course. Usually people hear statistics and give me a “ew” face. I love it! I love the content and seeing how my students grow in their capacity to interpret data. Unfortunately it is only a 3 credit course and I feel like I am always behind starting day one. I would love to have more time for material, examples and projects. Statistics is so applicable to everyday life and I would love to delve in with more hands-on examples and experiences for my students. If I could reimagine my classroom, I would see students going and collecting data, interpreting it and then giving a presentation of what they found to the class. Instead of using just a calculator to run the data, we would use statistical software so we could run larger data sets.
Desmos has some cool applications for graphs and if I had the time, my class could spend the whole time playing around with the graphs to truly understand what a normal distribution is, what a scatter plot looks like and how we calculate the line of best fit. This is what I picture if I had no time restraints. Now, I know that it is great to dream, but I know that I cannot have this type of classroom. I try to bring in certain aspects that I have imagined as stated previously, but in small little pieces. I try to liven up the class conversations by discussing current topics that are happening each semester ie. sports statistics, different hypothesis tests that they have seen on TV or even margins of error when voting is discussed . (This semester we talked about the upcoming Census 😉 ). I hope that by the end of the semester that my students leave with a basic knowledge of how to read and interpret research articles and love statistics just a little bit more than when they began the semester!