This is a very clear, but also very detailed explanation of the for, while, and repeat loops along with the concept of vectorization. A great resource for beginners. Continue reading

# Tag Archives: Teaching resources

# PMean: One small grant for me, one giant leap for Biostatisticians

I’m so busy these days that it is silly to take on anything new, but I found an opportunity for a small research grant that I might want to submit a proposal for. Continue reading

# Recommended: Diverse Perspectives on a Flipped Biostatistics Classroom

This article is a synthesis of a panel discussion at the 2014 Joint Statistical Meetings on the flipped classroom. The article discusses it solely from the perspective of Biostatistics classes, though they offer some references for the flipped classroom in a more general setting. A flipped classroom is a course where the traditional didactic lectures are recorded and watched at home and the homework that would normally be done at home is done instead in the classroom. This homework in a Biostatistics class often takes the form of active learning in small groups, such as critiquing published research studies or conducting analyses on real world data sets. The key component, according to the authors, is the in class interactions during these assignments. Students learn from each other as they work in groups.

Now you could do active learning in a traditional course format. What a flipped classroom does is increases the emphasis and the amount of time spent in active learning.

The common theme of the paper is that the flipped classroom has been successfully applied in a variety of settings. It is not a “one size fits all” approach, but rather can be adapted to the needs of the particular class. Some students may not like the flipped classroom format, and you shouldn’t underestimate the amount of time needed to prepare the videotaped lectures (one rule of thumb is ten hours of work for every hour of video). Still the student reactions and the instructors perceptions of the flipped classroom are generally positive. Continue reading

# PMean: Bad examples of data analysis are bad examples to use in teaching

I’m on various email discussion groups and every once in a while someone sends out a request that sounds something like this.

*I’m teaching a class (or running a journal club or giving a seminar) on research design (or evidence based medicine or statistics) and I’d like to find an example of a research study that use bad statistical analysis.*

And there’s always a flood of responses back. But if I were less busy, I’d jump into the conversation and say “Stop! Don’t do it!” Here’s why. Continue reading

# Recommended: The Analysis of Biological Data, 2nd Edition

I have not seen this book, but it comes highly recommended by Frank Harrell, which is good enough for me. Continue reading

# PMean: Can you recommend an introductory book on Bayesian Statistics

I got an email asking for a recommendation for an introductory book on Bayesian Statistics from someone who recently graduated from our program. It’s kind of a difficult request because the mathematical demands needed to understand Bayesian statistics are not trivial. Here’s what I recommended. Continue reading

# PMean: Do we really need to teach all this math stuff?

I got tagged in a Facebook post about an article criticizing the emphasis on math in high school and that proposes replacing some of the more theory based courses like Algebra II and Calculus with “a practical course in statistics for citizenship”. It’s an interesting article, and although it had some points, I had to disagree with the overall premise. Here’s what I said. Continue reading

# PMean: Finding interesting peer-reviewed articles that illustrate statistical tests

Someone asked how do you find peer-reviewed articles that use simple statistical tests so your students can see the structure of papers that report on statistical analyses. I do this a lot for this blog and for lectures that I give, so I wrote up some suggestions. Continue reading

# Recommended: Qualifications for Teaching an Introductory Statistics Course

The American Statistical Association and the Mathematical Association of America published a joint statement on the qualifications that a college teacher would need in order to teach an introductory statistics course for undergraduate students. This is an issue in many Mathematics Departments which might need to teach such a class but would not be big enough to have a degreed Statistician. A minimum amount of course work is needed, but also practical experience with data analysis, which might come from “advanced courses, projects, consulting, or research.” Continue reading

# Quote: Because statistics has too often been presented …

Because statistics has too often been presented as a bag of specialized computational tools, with morbid emphasis on calculation, it is no wonder that survivors of such courses regard their statistical tools as instruments of torture [rather] than as diagnostic aids in the art and science of data analysis. — George W. Cobb, as cited at http://www.cmaj.ca/content/165/9/1226.long