TIES 2018 Short Course on Beyond Calculations: Teaching Statistical Thinking
Presenter - E. Ashley Steel - asteel@fs.fed.us; asteel.usfs@gmail.com
Peter Guttorp - guttorp@uw.edu
Martin Liermann - martin.liermann@noaa.gov


To improve the application of statistics within the scientific process, we developed a course for senior undergraduates in Statistics and early graduate students from any science discipline.  The course serves as a bridge between learning and applying statistical tools; it focuses on statistical thinking within an expanded domain of statistics that includes not only calculations but also the beginning of the scientific process, e.g. asking a clear question and tying it correctly to analytical methods, and the end of the scientific process, e.g. communicating results to the general public.  In this 2-hour workshop, we share the successes and challenges of our course as well as slides, in-class activities, and r-labs to help others develop similar courses or enrich existing ones.

3:30 - 3:45    Introductions and introduction to the short course
3:45 - 4:00    Why are some statistical errors so common: The wiring of the human brain
4:00 - 4:15    Hands-on activity: Exploring infant mortality in the USA
4:15 - 4:30    From sampling distributions to bootstrapped confidence intervals
4:30 - 4:50    Hands-on activity: Permutation tests
4:50 - 5:10    Publish, perish and p-values: Teaching about p-values
5:10 - 5:20    Making final student projects successful
5:20 - 5:30    Statistical best practices (based on course) and Wrap-Up

Course resources to be made available on-line

  • Slides for teaching about the wiring of the human brain
  • Teaching Activity Guide: Thinking about kidney cancer - hands-on with associated R lab
  • Teaching Activity Guide: The Fame Game - teaching about the life-cycle of science
  • Teaching Activity Guide: Permutation tests - hands-on with associated R lab
  • R Lab: P-Value experiments
  • Statistical Best Practices (based on course)