USCOTS 2013 - Birds of a Feather

Friday, May 17th

  • Bayes for Beginners?

    Table Sign: "Bayes"
    Discussion leader: Jim Albert, Bowling Green State University

    Given the increasing popularity of Bayesian methods and computational methods in practice, it seems that this is a great time to develop materials and courses for teaching Bayesian thinking at an introductory level.

  • "Flipping" the Statistics Classroom

    Table Sign: "Flipping"
    Discussion leader: Todd Schwartz, UNC-Chapel Hill

    The "flipped" approach to teaching is gaining traction in a number of academic fields. This discussion will focus on how these methods might be applied to the field of statistics.

  • Testing Ho: Intro Stats Students Don't Cheat

    Table Sign: "Cheating"
    Discussion leader: Nancy Pfenning, University of Pittsburgh

    Faced with evidence that some students are not as honest as we'd like them to be, most of us have had to reject the null hypothesis. How can cheating in an intro stats course be detected or, even better, deterred? Are online assignments or exams secure enough to use as an assessment tool? Instructors can share their own experiences and expertise to help one another better handle cheating, an unfortunate fact of life that should not be ignored.

  • eCOTS

    Table Sign: "eCOTS"
    Discussion leader: Michelle Everson, University of Minnesota

    Did you attend eCOTS in 2012? Do you have some ideas to share as we begin planning the next eCOTS for 2014? Would you like to be involved in the planning of the next eCOTS? Please join Michelle Everson, eCOTS Program Chair, for lunch if you'd like to talk about your impressions of eCOTS 2012 and help brainstorm for eCOTS 2014. Look for the eCOTS table sign and join us!

  • Choosing Pre-requisites for Statistics Courses

    Table Sign: "Pre-requisites"
    Discussion leader: Rob Erhardt, Wake Forest University

    Pre-requisites of calculus and linear algebra allow upper level statistics courses to address more advanced topics, but they discourage some students from taking such courses or choosing to minor in statistics. How do you best strike the balance?

  • Teaching Statistics to Prepare Students for the World of Big Data

    Table Sign: "Big Data"
    Discussion leader: Bob Andrews, Virginia Commonwealth University

    We know that the trend is toward more data and more data driven decision making. Are our current statistics classes truly giving our students what they will need to successful in the changing environment?

  • Textbooks and Publishing in the Digital Age

    Table Sign: "Digital Age"
    Discussion leader: John Gabrosek, Grand Valley State University

    I think we need to be cognizant of financial burdens on students. We also need to embrace digital technology in ways that allow us to publish "texts" that are not as static as the current hard copy model.

  • Appropriate Material for an Undergraduate Statistical Theory Course

    Table Sign: "Theory"
    Discussion leader: Shahar Boneh, Metropolitan State University of Denver

    I teach upper-division statistics and there seems to be a void which often leads to confusion about how to teach theoretical topics in statistics. This becomes particularly important in light of the latest trends of relying on randomization tests and simulated data and less of the conceptual ideas and theory behind statistical methods.

  • Randomization Methods in the First Statistics Course

    Table Sign: "Randomization"
    Discussion leader: Nathan Tintle, Dordt College

    There is growing momentum behind using simulation and randomization approaches in the first course in statistics, but many statistics teaching faculty have questions about curricular options and implementation details. We will discuss (a) The motivation behind such approaches, (b) A few of the curriculum options currently available for implementation, (c) Some preliminary evidence of student learning gains, (d) How to make such an approach "work" while still meeting client and departmental course objectives, (e) Faculty development opportunities, and (f) Any other related questions participants wish to discuss.

  • AP Statistics

    Table Sign: "AP Statistics"
    Discussion leader: Daren Starnes, The Lawrenceville School

    To give high school teacher attendees a forum for addressing how the introductory statistics course is taught in high school.

  • Study of Fun

    Location: Crescent Boardroom
    Discussion leader: the Study of Fun Cluster

    The CAUSE-supported Study of Fun Cluster will meet to recap the recent work of the group (see Friday poster #17 or the paper in the current JSE: and brainstorm next steps for research and enhancing the collection ( If you think you may want to be part of our Cluster's future fun work, please join us! This lunch discussion will take place in the Crescent Boardroom, get your food in the ballroom and head across the hall.

  • Graduate Students

    Table Sign: "Grad Students"
    Discussion leader: self-directed

    Opportunity for graduate students to meet and share. Topics of discussion could include issues associated with being a teaching assistant, working on a dissertation (perhaps in statistics education), and searching for a teaching-oriented position. Grad students are also encouraged to join any of the other lunch discussion offerings.

Saturday, May 18th

  • Guidelines for Undergraduate Statistics Programs

    Table Sign: "Guidelines"
    Discussion leader: Nicholas Horton, Smith College

    The American Statistical Association is working to update the existing guidelines for Undergraduate Programs (Majors, Minors and Concentrations) in Statistics. Your input on suggested changes will help inform this discussion. More information can be found at:

  • Statistics for Scientists

    Table Sign: "Scientists"
    Discussion leader: Randall Pruim, Calvin College

    Scientists are increasingly saying that they think statistics is important. Some disciplines (i.e., biology) are making stronger requirements at the undergraduate level. Other disciplines (chemistry and physics) typically don't require a statistics course. Whether science students take a statistics course or not, it is not clear that we are teaching what scientists want their students to know, nor that they are building on a good foundation when they use statistics in their courses (or research).

  • Preparing to Teach K-12 Statistics

    Table Sign: "K-12 Teachers"
    Discussion leader: Stephanie Casey, Eastern Michigan University There's a three session series of presentations on this topic at USCOTS. It would be nice to have the opportunity to have discussions with persons interested in this topic, spurred by the presentations.

  • Statistics in the Media

    Table Sign: "Media"
    Discussion leader: Nancy Pfenning, University of Pittsburgh

    Journalists work very hard to come up with stories about current research that readers will find interesting. We can take advantage of this by sharing with our students examples of statistical applications in media reports. Up for discussion can be topics like: What areas of research do students find most intriguing? How do we best incorporate these applications into our intro stats curriculum?

  • Introducing "Big Data" in Stat 101

    Table Sign: "Big Data"
    Discussion leader: John McKenzie, Babson College

    Today's technology produces massive amounts of data from a variety of sources such as social networking activities, on-line searches, financial transactions, genetic sequences, and astronomical transmissions. Very few introductory applied statistics courses consider such 'Big Data', for which many standard descriptive and inferential methods fail. This lunch table discussion will consider a number of ways that students can be easily exposed to such data in an introductory applied statistics course.

  • Online Assessment for Statistics Courses

    Table Sign: "Online Assessment"
    Discussion leader: Kimberly Sergent, WebAssign

    Open discussion of what instructors and students need and/or want to improve online assessment at all levels.

  • The Wikipedia Makeover: Spreading Stat Ed's Joy and Wisdom

    Table Sign: "Wikipedia"
    Discussion leaders: Ethan Brown, Elizabeth Fry, N. Parker, University of Minnesota

    A group at the University of Minnesota has been regularly meeting since fall 2012 to research, update, and improve the Wikipedia article on Statistics Education. We have only begun to scratch the surface of Wikipedia's power to collect and widely disseminate the what, when, who, where, and why of statistics education. Come discuss with us what you think the world needs to know about statistics education that can be added to Wikipedia, and we can work together to navigate the Wikipedia culture and standards to make that happen.

  • Helping Statistics Instructors with Limited Training

    Table Sign: "Helping Instructors"
    Discussion leader: Monica Dabos, College of the Canyons

    In this lunch panel we will discuss ideas on how to assist instructors who are required to teach statistics but have little or no training in teaching statistics. We will identify the challenges these instructors may encounter, brainstorm ideas on how to address their needs, and unveil methods that have shown to be effective and ineffective so far in this endeavor.

  • Graduate Students

    Table Sign: "Grad Students"
    Discussion leader: self-directed

    Opportunity for graduate students to meet and share. Topics of discussion could include issues associated with being a teaching assistant, working on a dissertation (perhaps in statistics education), and searching for a teaching-oriented position. Grad students are also encouraged to join any of the other lunch discussion offerings.