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Volume 12 (2004)

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An International Journal on the Teaching and Learning of Statistics

JSE Volume 12, Number 3 Abstracts

Mary Richardson, John Gabrosek, Diann Reischman, and Phyllis Curtiss
Morse Code, Scrabble, and the Alphabet

In this paper we describe an interactive activity that illustrates simple linear regression. Students collect data and analyze it using simple linear regression techniques taught in an introductory applied statistics course. The activity is extended to illustrate checks for regression assumptions and regression diagnostics taught in an intermediate applied statistics course.

Key Words: Influential observation; Outlier; Regression assumptions; Regression diagnostics; Simple linear regression.

Barbara Ward
The Best of Both Worlds: A Hybrid Statistics Course

This study compares students’ performance and attitudes in a hybrid (blend of online and face-to-face) model of Elementary Statistics and a traditional (face-to-face) model of the same course. Performance was measured by test, quiz, project, and final exam grades. Attitude was measured by the results of a course survey administered at the end of the semester. Both models of the course required the same textbook and statistical computer package, were taught by the same instructor, and had similar demographic characteristics such as gender, major, and classification. Significant differences were found in an extra credit grade comprised of points earned on interactive worksheets, and attitudes toward the course. There was no significant difference in students’ performance as measured by grades. The value of hybrid courses as a viable option in distance education and their potential benefits to students and the educational institution are discussed.

Key Words: Distance education; Online vs. traditional; Statistics education; Web enhanced.

Lawrence M. Lesser and Erik Nordenhaug
Ethical Statistics and Statistical Ethics: Making an Interdisciplinary Module

This article describes an innovative curriculum module the first author created on the two-way exchange between statistics and applied ethics. The module, having no particular mathematical prerequisites beyond high school algebra, is part of an undergraduate interdisciplinary ethics course which begins with a 3-week introduction to basic applied ethics taught by a philosophy professor (the second author), and continues with 3-week modules from professors in various other disciplines.  The first author’s module’s emphasis on conceptual and critical thinking makes it easily adaptable to service-level courses as well as readily expandable for more mathematically sophisticated audiences. Through in-class explorations and discussions, the module made connections to contemporary topics such as the death penalty, equal pay for equal work, and profiling.   This article shares examples, resources, strategies and lessons learned for instructors wishing to develop their own modules of various lengths.

Key Words: Critical thinking; Curriculum; Kantian; Philosophy; Statistical reasoning; Utilitarian.

Peter Goos and Herlinde Leemans
Teaching Optimal Design of Experiments Using a Spreadsheet

In this paper, we present an interactive teaching approach to introduce the concept of optimal design of experiments to students. Our approach is based on the use of spreadsheets. One advantage of this approach is that no complex mathematical theory is needed nor that any design construction algorithm has to be discussed at the introductory stage. Another benefit is that the students build all necessary matrices for concrete examples starting from a sensible initial design. By modifying the initial design by trial and error, they can try to improve the properties of the parameter estimators interactively. For problems in which finding the optimal design is not evident, they can use optimization software which is readily available in the spreadsheet software.

Key Words: Linear Models; Microsoft Excel; Nonlinear models; Response surface experiment; Solver.

Shai Linn
A New Conceptual Approach to Teaching the Interpretation of Clinical Tests

Courses in clinical epidemiology usually include acquainting students with a single 2X2 table. All diagnostic test characteristics are explained using this table. This pedagogic approach may be misleading. A new didactic approach is hereby proposed, using two tables, each with specific analogous notations (uppercase and lowercase) and derived equations. This approach makes it easier to discuss the use of Bayes’ Theorem and the two stages of analyses, i.e., using sensitivity to calculate predictive values. Two different types of false negative rates and false positive rates are discussed.

Key Words: Bayes' Theorem; Diagnosis; Predictive value.

Erin M. Hodgess
A Computer Evolution in Teaching Undergraduate Time Series

In teaching undergraduate time series courses, we have used a mixture of various statistical packages. We have finally been able to teach all of the applied concepts within one statistical package; R. This article describes the process that we use to conduct a thorough analysis of a time series. An example with a data set is provided. We compare these results to an identical analysis performed on Minitab.

Key Words: Statistical packages; Time series analysis.

Datasets and Stories

David E. Kalist
Data form the Television Game Show "Friend or Foe?"

The data discussed in this paper are from the television game show Friend or Foe, and can be used to examine whether age, gender, race, and the amount of prize money affect contestants’ strategies. The data are suitable for a variety of statistical analyses, such as descriptive statistics, testing for differences in means or proportions, and estimating discrete choice models.

Key Words: Discrete choice; Linear probability model; Prisoner's dilemma; Probit.

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