[MOSAIC-news] Project MOSAIC M-cast: An inquiry-based introductory statistics course (October 21st)

Nicholas Horton nhorton at smith.edu
Thu Oct 13 15:18:12 CDT 2011

Be sure to join us on Friday, October 21st for a Project MOSAIC M-cast at
2:00pm EDT (1:00pm CDT, 11:00am PDT) entitled "An inquiry-based introductory
statistics course" by Lisa Dierker of Wesleyan University.

Abstract: Statistical analysis plays a significant role across the sciences
and is arguably the most salient point of intersection between diverse
disciplines given that scientists constantly communicate information on
varied topics through the common language of statistics. Despite its central
importance however, the teaching of statistics is limited by numerous
challenges that are not easily overcome with traditional pedagogical
approaches. In this presentation, I will describe individual and synergistic
components of a collaborative, project-based first course in data analysis
and applied statistics that can serve large numbers of students and cross
both divisional (natural and social sciences) and departmental (biology,
chemistry, neuroscience, computer science, astronomy, earth and
environmental science, social science) boundaries. The role of computation
is key to facilitate analysis of these real-world multivariate datasets.
The goal is to increase the number of students exposed to modern statistical
methods; to inspire students to pursue advanced course work and
opportunities in statistics; and to increase interest in statistics among
women and students from underrepresented groups.

There are other M-CASTS organized by the MOSAIC Project
(http://www.mosaic-web.org) on a variety of interesting topics. We encourage
you to join in on the conversation and discussion for any or all of them.

Tuning in to an M-CAST: Instructions

M-CASTS are broadcast using the ReadyTalk computer conferencing system.

1. Direct your browser to the ReadyTalk web server
<http://www.readytalk.com/>  and enter access code 2923887. This provides
the video component of the M-CAST.

2. For audio, telephone 866-740-1260 <tel:866-740-1260>  and at the voice
prompt, enter the same access code: 2923887.  You must dial in for the

The audio is two-way: a conference call that supports the seminar style of
the event.

What's an M-CAST?

M-casts are 20-minute seminars broadcast over the Internet on the 2nd, 4th,
and 5th Friday of each month.  They are part of Project MOSAIC, an
NSF-sponsored project to improve undergraduate STEM education by better
integrating Modeling, Statistics, Computation, and Calculus.  M-Casts are
designed to provide a quick and easy way for educators to share ideas, get
reactions from others, and form collaborations.

M-casts are recorded and posted on the Internet soon after the event.

What's Project MOSAIC?

Project MOSAIC (www.mosaic-web.org) is a community of educators working to
develop a new way to introduce mathematics, statistics, computation and
modeling to students in colleges and universities.

Our goal: Provide a broader approach to quantitative studies that provides
better support for work in science and technology.  The focus of the project
is to tie together better diverse aspects of quantitative work that students
in science, technology, and engineering will need in their professional
lives, but which are today usually taught in isolation, if at all.
* Modeling. The ability to create, manipulate and investigate  useful and
informative mathematical representations of a real-world situations.

* Statistics. The analysis of variability that draws on our ability to
quantify uncertainty and to draw logical inferences from observations and

* Computation.  The capacity to  think algorithmically, to manage data on
large scales, to visualize and interact with models, and to automate tasks
for  efficiency, accuracy, and reproducibility.

* Calculus. The traditional mathematical entry point for college and
university students and a subject that still has the potential to provide
important insights to today's students.
The name MOSAIC reflects the first letters --- M, S, C, C --- of these
important components of a quantitative education. Project MOSAIC is
motivated by a vision of quantitative education as a mosaic where the basic
materials come together to form a complete and compelling picture.

Nicholas Horton 
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Smith College
Clark Science Center, Northampton, MA 01063-0001

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