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Is it time to rethink the statistics curriculum?

Professor Bernadette Lanciaux of RIT says her students loved analyzing data that had meaning for them.Professor Bernadette Lanciaux of RIT says her students loved analyzing data that had meaning for them.Bernie Lanciaux is a faculty member at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) School of Mathematical Sciences where she co-chaired the committee charged with rewriting the introductory statistics curriculum. Lanciaux has a PhD and an MEd and has been involved in professional development in statistics education for over a decade. She has been on the program for various professional meetings and has received numerous Faculty Professional Development Grants for her work revising the introductory statistics curriculum at RIT.

In a column in JMP Foreword magazine, Lanciaux describes what she calls “an unparalleled teaching experience.” She was able to build a statistics curriculum from the ground up to reach specific learning goals. She asked herself, “How should I cover critical statistical concepts? And if I could use the power of JMP to teach these things, how would I approach teaching them?”

Lanciaux started with a summer school class and was delighted to see how quickly her students took off with data analysis in JMP, especially when given the chance to explore data that had real meaning to them. (She assigned a project where each student analyzed data about their hometowns or favorite cities.)

I’ll leave you to read the rest of her column in JMP Foreword, but let’s just say, JMP is giving students a way to painlessly and playfully explore data. You can see student projects from Prof. Lanciaux’s classes at RIT in JMP Public:

And for anyone who is looking for a way to learn statistics concepts from home – whether you’re a student or professional – check out Statistical Thinking for Industrial Problem Solving. It’s a free online statistics course available to anyone interested in building practical skills in using data to solve problems better.

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