How I Teach Statistics

The manner in which an instructor can integrate the examples from this blog is determined, in part, by the environment in which they teach. In order to better understand where I am coming from and how I teach, here is some information on the environments in which I teach statistics as well as some information on my personal orientation towards teaching statistics. 

When I teach on-campus statistics:

I use Statistics for Psychology by Aron, Coups, & Aron, 6th ed. Why? It is written by psychologists, does a good job of explaining significance versus effect size (and how to calculate effect size for various statistical tests), and contains instructions for using SPSS. I use an electronic version of the text via MyStatsLab.

My students complete their homework assignments via MyStatsLab (automatically graded! Hooray! Also, personalized feed back and assistance when solving homework questions). 

I teach in a computer lab using SPSS 20.

I emphasize conceptual understanding over computation. I also emphasize the ability to communicate statistics. As such, my students learn the basics of reporting statistics using the APA style manual  in my class.

I typically have 20-25 students per class. They represent a variety of different college majors and are mostly second year students.

My class is listed as Psychological Statistics and meets the requirements for an introductory statistics course at my university.

I teach two sections of this class every Fall and Spring.

I also teach Honors Psychological statistics. This class is capped at 15 and limited to students in Gannon University's Honors program. The format is similar, with two exceptions 1) class discussion days and statistics/research methods topics and 2) a class field trip to watch a baseball game and learn about baseball data. 

When I teach online statistics:

Roughly half of my students are in Gannon University's RN to BSN online program and the other half are traditional on-campus undergraduates who elect to take the course online.

My students complete their homework assignments via MyStatsLab. 

My students perform statistics using StatsCrunch (Pearson's statistical software embedded in MyStatsLab) over the course of the semester.

The class is seven weeks long (same material as my on-campus class but in half the time. Yes, this does make the class more challenging for my students).

Another way in which this class differs significantly is through the use of weekly discussion boards based on readings from popular magazines and web sites.

I teach this class every Spring, Summer, and Fall semester.

Larger teaching philosophy:

Check out my contribution to the Society for the Teaching of Psychology's "This is how I teach." series.