ISSN 1069-1898

An International Journal on the Teaching and Learning of Statistics

JSE Volume 23, Number 2 Abstracts


Robert J. Erhardt and Michael P. Shuman
Assistive Technologies for Second-Year Statistics Students who are Blind

At Wake Forest University, a student who is blind enrolled in a second course in statistics. The course covered simple and multiple regression, model diagnostics, model selection, data visualization, and elementary logistic regression. These topics required that the student both interpret and produce three sets of materials: mathematical writing, computer programming, and visual displays of data. While we did find scattered resources for blind students taking mathematics courses or introductory statistics courses, we found no complete account of teaching statistical modeling to students who are blind. We also discovered some challenges in stitching together multiple partial solutions. This paper outlines our specific approach. We relied heavily on integrating the use of multiple existing technologies. Specifically, this paper will detail the extensive use of screen readers, LaTeX, a modified use of R and the BrailleR package, a desktop Braille embosser, and a modified classroom approach.

Key Words:Learning assistance; Statistical models; Tactile image; Visual impairment.


J. S. Hardin, G. Sarkis, and P. C. URC
Network Analysis with the Enron Email Corpus

We use the Enron email corpus to study relationships in a network by applying six different measures of centrality. Our results came out of an in-semester undergraduate research sem- inar. The Enron corpus is well suited to statistical analyses at all levels of undergraduate education. Through this article’s focus on centrality, students can explore the dependence of statistical models on initial assumptions and the interplay between centrality measures and hierarchical ranking, and they can use completed studies as springboards for future research. The Enron corpus also presents opportunities for research into many other areas of analysis, including social networks, clustering, and natural language processing.

Key Words:Computational Statistics; Data Science; Research with Undergraduates.


Ella Hartenian and Nicholas J. Horton
Rail Trails and Property Values: Is There an Association?

The Rail Trail and Property Values dataset includes information on a set of n = 104 homes which sold in Northampton, Massachusetts in 2007. The dataset provides house information (square footage, acreage, number of bedrooms, etc.), price estimates (from at four time points, location, distance from a rail trail in the community, biking score, and walking score. The dataset is amenable to use with exploratory data analysis in introductory courses, intermediate courses with a focus on visualization and multivariate relationships as well as advanced courses that utilize repeated measures regression models and more sophisticated graphics.

Key Words: biking score, linear parks, greenways, multiple regression, real estate, walking score,

Lauren Hund and Christina Getrich
A Pilot Study of Short Computing Video Tutorials in a Graduate Public Health Biostatistics Course

Traditional lecture-centered classrooms are being challenged by active learning hybrid curricula. In small graduate programs with limited resources and primarily non-traditional students, exploring how to use online technology to optimize the role of the professor in the classroom is imperative. However, very little research exists in this area. In this study, the use of short statistical computing video tutorials was explored using a pilot study in a small Public Health Program at the University of New Mexico. The videos were implemented in two Master’s-level biostatistics courses and student perception of the videos was assessed using quantitative surveys and qualitative focus groups. The results from 16 survey respondents and 12 focus group participants are presented across the two courses. Viewing rates for the videos were high, with 15 out of 16 respondents reporting usually or always viewing the videos. Overall perception of the videos as a learning tool was positive, with 14 out of 16 respondents agreeing that the videos offer advantages to them. Two prominent themes emerged in our analysis: (1) the usability and convenience of the videos and (2) the deeper learning facilitated by having the videos available. We conclude that the short video tutorials were a useful learning tool in our study population.

Key Words: Hybrid learning; Public health education; Short videos; YouTube.

Albert Y. Kim and Adriana Escobedo-Land
OkCupid Data for Introductory Statistics and Data Science Courses

We present a data set consisting of user profile data for 59,946 San Francisco OkCupid users (a free online dating website) from June 2012. The data set includes typical user information, lifestyle variables, and text responses to 10 essay questions. We present four example analyses suitable for use in undergraduate introductory probability and statistics and data science courses that use R. The statistical and data science concepts covered include basic data visualization, exploratory data analysis, multivariate relationships, text analysis, and logistic regression for prediction.

Key Words: OkCupid; Online dating; Data science; Big data; Logistic regression; Text mining.

David M. Lane
Simulations of the Sampling Distribution of the Mean Do Not Necessarily Mislead and Can Facilitate Learning

Recently Watkins, Bargagliotti, and Franklin (2014) discovered that simulations of the sampling distribution of the mean can mislead students into concluding that the mean of the sampling distribution of the mean depends on sample size. This potential error arises from the fact that the mean of a simulated sampling distribution will tend to be closer to the population mean with large sample sizes than it will with small sample sizes. Although this pattern does not change as a function of the number of samples, the size of the difference between simulated sampling distribution means does and can be made invisible to observers by using a very large number of samples. It is now practical for simulations to use these very large numbers of samples since the speed of computers and even mobile devices is sufficient to simulate a sampling distribution based on 1,000,000 samples in just a few seconds. Research on the effectiveness of sampling distribution simulations is briefly reviewed and it is concluded that they are effective as long as they are used in a pedagogically sound manner.

Key Words: Sampling distribution simulations; Variance of means; Effectiveness of
simulations; Central Limit theorem.

Jeff Witmer
How Much Do Minority Lives Matter?

There are many well-known data sets that can be used to illustrate Simpson’s Paradox. The Stand Your Ground data presented here shows Simpson’s Paradox. In these data, race plays the key role – and not in the way that some students expect.

Key Words: Simpson’s Paradox.

Interviews with Statistics Educators

Allan Rossman and Ann Watkins
Interview with Ann Watkins

Ann Watkins is Professor of Mathematics at California State University – Northridge. A Fellow of the American Statistical Association, she served as President of the Mathematical Association of America from 2001 – 2002. She received the USCOTS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. This interview took place via email on May 26 – July 4, 2015.

Teaching Bits

Elizabeth Brondos Fry
Teaching Bits: Statistics Education Articles from 2015

I located 14 total articles that have been published from March 15 through July 15, 2015 that pertained to statistics education. In this column, I highlight a few of these articles that represent a variety of different journals that include statistics education in their focus. I also provide information about the journals and a link to their websites so that abstracts of additional articles may be accessed and viewed. In this issue I also highlight some recently completed dissertations in statistics education.

Megan Mocko and Mark Werner
Teaching Bits: What's New with CAUSEweb and MERLOT?

The aim of this short column is to provide an overview of resources and events from CAUSEweb ( and MERLOT ( to help you stay connected with the Statistical Education community.


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