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A “Revisited” blog post indicates that I reread the original and used AI-assisted tools (e.g., Grammarly) to improve grammar and word choice.

First published on December 7, 2009.

As documented elsewhere, I have taught over seventy times a course required for the Carroll undergraduate psychology major. (Psychology 205: Statistics and Experimental Design0  Can it be that it was more than 30 years ago that my first student assistant, Larry Jost, and I proudly announced in our “journal,” Occasional Papers in Psychology, our successful translation of some 40 BASIC statistical analysis programs (obtained from a psychologist in South Africa)? We were so thrilled that we were able to introduce them to my PSY205 class using my TRS80 Model I Level II microcomputer with 16K RAM!

Several excellent resources on the Web exist today for supplementing a course like “mine.” Among my favorites are VassarStats and the Rice Virtual Lab in Statistics.  I also find the online resource Research Randomizer very well done and valuable for our students.

I’m wondering whether it is time (or past time) for me to pass along the course to someone else.  Indeed, is it perhaps time for the system to “go away” (Though parting is such sweet sorrow :))—either by assuming that its content is addressed by other courses (such as are offered by my colleagues in Mathematics) or by merging it with another course, say, a two-semester psychology research course. Both ideas have been proposed and discussed with faculty colleagues in recent years.

Though I think I have been unusually successful at developing rapport with students in a course whose subject matter is often anxiety-arousing, anyone teaching the same course time and again runs the risk of losing touch with new ways of teaching, failing to understand changes in student needs and student abilities and neglecting to capitalize on new and perhaps better ways of teaching the subject matter.

Is it time to teach the course in a way more in “sync with students of today to help students avoid choosing the wrong statistic? Should I offer the course in an online format? In a hybrid format? Is there continued value in teaching a “canned” statistical package such as SPSS? Might it make more sense to teach the data analysis capabilities of open-source statistical software freely available online? Should I incorporate more applications or draw more upon my work for Schneider Consulting, which I firmly believe enriches my teaching? Should I make room for more systematic instruction on effect sizes and statistical power?

I’d love to incorporate material on ethical data analysis issues, provide opportunities to discover inappropriate data analyses, create opportunities for action research, and help students realize the limitations of statistics. Might it be worth my following through on my idea of several years ago of creating a highly trained group of undergraduate, cross-disciplinary, student data analysis consultants? Do I delude myself in thinking that my “Statistics and Experimental Design course” is the most important class that I teach?

I invite former and present students of mine who have taken this class with me to share their insights for possible new directions for this course.