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Fun and effective: Teaching statistics with JMP

JMP has a growing fan club of people who are passionate about the software as a great teaching tool to more easily convey statistical concepts. Colleagues on our global academic team and I pooled some comments from noteworthy educators about why they like teaching with JMP.


Stangl“In the early years of teaching statistics to non-majors, it was frustrating — so much class time lost to coding frustration. I was overjoyed when JMP came out. JMP is very visual and interactive, freeing time to focus on conceptual understanding of statistics.”

-- Dalene Stangl, PhD, Associate Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Professor in the Department of Statistical Science at Duke University, has won many awards for outstanding teaching. She has a long list of other accomplishments, one of which is helping to organize the first-ever Women in Statistics Conference.


goos“Even though I am generally reluctant to change, I very enthusiastically started using JMP for teaching basic statistics, probability, regression analysis and design of experiments in the last two years, after having seen impressive demos on the visualization of data, the interactive capabilities and the JMP team’s support tools for teachers. For any regression or ANOVA class, the Prediction Profiler (a dynamic, interactive tool for interpreting regression or ANOVA models) is the best tool out there to explain what an interaction effect is, what a quadratic effect is, …. JMP allows students to actually understand and use the results of an analysis, whether the dependent variable is continuous or binary or ordered categorical and no matter whether the independent variables are quantitative or categorical or both.”

-- Peter Goos, full Professor in Statistics at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, University of Leuven, and at the Faculty of Applied Economics, University of Antwerp, and coauthor of Optimal Design of Experiments: A Case Study Approach.


Deppa“JMP is fundamental for intro stats, which is required for nurses and a number of other majors. I teach the entire intro course with the Distribution and Fit Y by X platforms. Starting with a graph is incredibly important. I have entire lessons based on Fit Y by X — if Y is continuous, if Y and X are categorical, etc. Data type and technique are incredibly important. Fit Y by X provides a clean way to introduce bivariate thinking. Through the interactive, visual Profiler, we are able to get to more advanced statistical topics like multivariate logistic regression with a less statistically savvy audience. A huge drawback with other packages is that you're not always moving forward. With JMP, you're always moving forward. JMP is very progressive. JMP also features in other classes along with R. Data cleaning is often easier in JMP — variable recoding is cleverly implemented, and you can easily collapse categories.”

-- Brant Deppa, PhD, Professor of Statistics and Department Chair of Mathematics & Statistics at Winona State University, has taken a leadership role in developing one of the most successful and nationally recognized undergraduate statistics programs in the US. He has been teaching using JMP for nearly 20 years in courses ranging from introductory statistics for non-majors to upper-level courses for statistics majors, such as multivariate analysis and supervised learning. He has also developed several JMP-based online statistics courses in support of master’s and doctoral programs in nursing.


meintrup"One reason I like to teach statistics using JMP is that I don't need to spend a lot of time explaining the software. I show my students the basic principles, and then they are ready to explore JMP on their own. Once they discover the interactivity of graphs, or how to create graphs interactively with the Graph Builder, I can virtually observe how they dive deeper and deeper into JMP. In the end, they still need to learn statistics, but JMP makes it far less painful."

-- David Meintrup works in both academia and industry. David is a Professor of mathematics, statistics and operations research at Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences in Germany. He also consults with scientists and engineers in the semiconductor, solar, pharmaceutical and biotech industries. In a recent webcast, David also stated the importance of doing two things in teaching applied statistics: using software and teaching design of experiments (DOE).


Adams“Whether teaching a graduate course in design of experiments, data mining or an undergraduate introductory methods course, JMP has become my statistical tool of choice. Many software platforms provide nice tool boxes from which an analyst selects a desired tool, considers the results and then selects another tool for another try. JMP gives you the same tool set but in a fully integrated and dynamic diagnostics system. Highly interactive graphics, lightning fast and technically sound numeric algorithms, and dynamic tools for data manipulation become a means to an end, not the key focus of the class. Simulation studies, interactive scripts for illustrating key statistical concepts, JSL for moving into production settings – well, there are just too many good things to talk about. JMP, I love it.”

-- Michael Adams, Professor of Applied Statistics at The University of Alabama, has a focus on statistical education, which includes activity-based statistics lessons for K-12 teachers in the Alabama Quantitative Literacy Program, and developing distance learning courses and study-abroad programs in China.


bild_hilbert"Using JMP, which recently replaced SPSS completely in all our lectures, we appreciate the ease-of-use and brilliant ways to visualize data. Students are very excited about JMP — they are requesting more and more tips and tricks for their final theses. Since JMP offers so many valuable supporting resources, the students find it easy to help themselves.”

-- Andreas Hilbert, Full Professor and Chair of Business Informatics at the Technical University of Dresden, is Chairman of the board of the Business Intelligence Research Association and a board member for the business intelligence task force within the Gesellschaft für Informatik, the largest society of computer scientists in Germany.


Orzechowski“At the Northwestern master’s program for Product Design and Development, I have the privilege to teach business leaders about the use of statistics for product development using JMP….  Within minutes of the first class, their eyes are lighting up as they are seeing their data in an interactive visual way that they’ve never experienced before. The fact that JMP successfully helps engage the students is such a critical success factor that it is at the foundation of this class. I've used Excel and Minitab, and these simply can’t replicate that excitement. JMP is a wonderful visualization tool that allows me to teach statistics with almost no equations — it's all about visualization. At work, we leverage these same strengths to help us rapidly obtain meaning from our data, develop compelling visual communications for our leaders and, in the end, effectively drive decision making. JMP is more than a statistics package to us. It is an important tool that helps us manage our business.”

-- Anthony Orzechowski, Director of R&D Quality Engineering at Abbott Diagnostics, is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and serves as an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University’s Master of Product Design and Development program.


Chen“As a global company, one of the hurdles we face is language differences across regions. Statistics is one of the ways to bridge the gap, so we have classes for intro stats and DOE for associates throughout the globe. We made a commitment to use JMP in these classes over 10 years ago and have not looked back since. The data visualization and interactive output in JMP bring the common language of statistics to life for our associates in ways that a static textbook or slide deck cannot accomplish. I know JMP is a successful tool because I see associates who have taken the classes sharing data across regions using JMP output to explain their results and conclusions. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then JMP's visualization tools are thousands of words that need no translation, which is a huge savings for our Enterprise.”

-- Chris Chen is a statistician for W.L. Gore & Associates Inc. He splits his Commitments between supporting the Core Technology group and leading the Global Statistics Team. Chris has been using SAS and JMP for more than 15 years. He has developed and taught in-house courses in basic statistics, DOE and SPC. His mission at Gore is to help Associates tell better stories.


Haney“I have had many years’ experience teaching Six Sigma in industry. My students come from various academic backgrounds and have a variety of work experiences. Most have come to understand the power in JMP Pro and all that they can use it for to achieve success. I do remember one new employee who commented, ‘How can Dow justify the expense in providing JMP software to its employees? My previous employer used a less expensive product, and they did just fine.’ After the training, I asked the new employee what he thought of JMP now. He was a bit embarrassed about his earlier comment, having seen all that JMP could do. He remarked, ‘I guess at my old company we got what we paid for.’ ”

-- Chris Haney is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt who mentors Master Black Belts and develops training for Black Belts and Green Belt Project Leaders globally for Dow.

UPDATE 6/16/14 2:00 pm ET Another professor sent in a comment for this post:


“What I love about JMP is that it provides a flexible platform for users who range from the most basic user to the most sophisticated. I use JMP in delivering my undergraduate, Executive MBA, and traditional MBA statistics courses. JMP’s visual capabilities and intuitive platforms are unmatched. Literally, on the first day of classes, I have my students play with Graph Builder with a provided data set. I frequently hear students exclaim ‘Cool!’ when they realize that they are capable of uncovering a variety of visual stories with the data. These students of limited statistical background immediately feel the power of data. JMP allows instructors to go as deep as they want on topics. For me, I find all the embedded capabilities in JMP’s Fit Model platform to be invaluable including modeling searching using AIC, BIC, and out-of-sample validation, logistic regression, and the variety of customizable tests. As time passes, I continually uncover more capabilities of JMP which result in improvements in my course delivery and a better learning environment for my students.”

-- Layth C. Alwan is an Associate Professor of Business Statistics and Operations Management at the University of Wisconsin. He has twice won teacher of year for the school and has also won outstanding EMBA teacher of the year. He is co-author of Practice of Statistics for Business and Economics.

Education is ongoing, and the nature of our work is continually evolving, requiring us to learn new things — change is the one constant.  If you teach with JMP — in an academic, professional or other setting — and have something you’d like to add, please do!

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Steve Figard wrote:

Very apropos post for me as I am working on a new biostatistics course to be taught this fall and am using JMP as the foundational software.


Teresa Obis wrote:

I am using JMP to teach Marketing Research for the last 3 years both in an undergraduate course and in a Master.

I agree with all the comments. And I would append a new one:

JMP has made a change in the way we explain data analysis. With JMP we can pay attention to data and "see" in it what has happened. Then we only check statistical tests to check if the one we are seeing is or not significant.


Anne Milley wrote:

That is great to hear, Steve. Hope the course development is going well.

In case you aren't already aware of JMP's academic resources for

instructors, you may find this link useful: Thanks!


Anne Milley wrote:

Great addition, Teresa! Thanks for chiming in.


Peter Bartell wrote:

In my 20+ years of teaching statistical methods to adults in industry JMP has been consistently the most efficient and elegant means to teach the three basic principles of successful data analysis; 1. Plot the data, 2. Plot the data, and 3. PLOT THE DATA!


Di Michelson wrote:

I agree with Peter. I've been teaching statistical methods to adults for over 20 years as well, using different software packages. In my experience, visualization is key to learning hard concepts, and JMP makes it so easy to not only visualize data and models, but also for instructors to write scripts to demonstrate the "why" of statistical methods. I'm very fortunate to be able to teach JMP classes full time now, and help all sorts of students learn how to use data to make good business decisions.


Anne Milley wrote:

Well said, Peter!


Anne Milley wrote:

Agree visualization is key. And we're fortunate to have you and Peter with your wealth of experience!


Dan Obermiller wrote:

Another great thing about JMP as evidenced by these comments is just how many disciplines in which it can be successfully used. The visualization is that "common language" that allows JMP to work so well in so many different disciplines. As a JMP instructor, it is a real pleasure to help people in so many different fields of study.


Anne Milley wrote:

This is also evidenced by the wide-ranging topics speakers will be presenting at Discovery Summit. Three titles in particular relate to JMP and teaching:

How JMP® Is Moving the Fences in Undergraduate Statistics Education,

Using JMP® as a Catalyst for Teaching Data-Driven Decision Making to High School Students, and

A JMP® Add-In for Teaching Statistical Inference Using Resampling Methods.


Wex Lee wrote:

Analytically Speaking

Wednesday, Sept. 10

1 - 2:30 p.m. ET


I do not have Jump license. Only SAS Stat, IML. Is the Wednesday, Sept. 10 webcast right for someone like me?



Wex Lee, Ph.D. | Wonderlic Research and Development

p: 847.247.2426 | tf: 800.323.3742 | f: 847.680.9492



Anne Milley wrote:

Hi, Wex.

Thanks for your interest and for your use of SAS. The Analytically Speaking webcast featuring Howard Wainer September 10, is one you won't want to miss if you want to hear from a truly thoughtful, engaging (and witty) expert in statistics and data visualization. Howard's wisdom and perspective transcend software. We do hope you will join.