Teaching Statistics in a Community College - Connections


Mary Parker, Austin Community College
Brian Smith, McGill University


We who teach in community colleges spend most of our days working with colleagues who are not also statisticians or statistics teachers. That brings us some special opportunities to enrich our courses and increase the number of students who see statistics as useful in making sense of the world. Some of us are well-connected with the public schools and aware of how the mathematics and science curricula in K-12 include more work on data analysis than in the past. Students and faculty members in college business, science, social science, and vocational classes work with data frequently. How can we use our connections to enhance our statistics courses and to bring more statistics into the other courses we teach? In this breakout session, we'll discuss strategies for choosing topics and the appropriate depth. In small groups, we'll consider and critique some examples of statistics in non-statistics courses. Participants will receive a handout discussing strategies for choosing topics and the depth, some examples, and a list of resources (mostly web resources.)


Mary Parker has taught mathematics and statistics at Austin Community College for more than 20 years and has taught mathematical statistics to seniors and graduate students at the University of Texas for 15 years. She has served on numerous committees of the Mathematical Association of America and the American Statistical Association. Her current curriculum interests include working on materials for her distance-learning statistics and prealgebra courses and developing a textbook for a "mathematics for practical arts" course called Math for Measurement.

Brian Smith teaches Statistics and Operations Research in the Faculty of Management at McGill University and was previously Chair of the Department of Mathematics in Dawson College, a large two-year college in Montreal. He is currently the Chairman of the ASA/AMATYC Joint Committee and he also served as chair of the Technology in Mathematics Education Committee of AMATYC from 1993 to 1999. Brian is the author of a text on the use of graphing calculators and is a co-author of the recently published first Canadian Edition of Managerial Decision Modeling with Spreadsheets by Render, Stair, Balakrishnan and Smith.


Handout (PDF)