Recent Conferences

During the past couple of weeks I have attended two outstanding conferences. The first, the Atlantic Coastal Teaching of Psychology Conference, was a great conference attended by tremendously dedicated faculty members throughout the region of NJ, PA, NY, and the like. At this conference, I reviewed information I or some of the sages had talked about regarding the use of Mathematica. This link-rich PowerPoint presentation may be useful for those of you attempting to implement Mathematica into the teaching of applied statistics. And for students reading this blog, you will probably enjoy the demonstrations as well. This blog walks people through how to down load the free version of Mathematica and provides several of my favorite links to statistical demonstrations. This presentation also reviews the steps of Deliberate Practice. To date, I have found that framing the use of Mathematica Demonstrations as a learning tool in the theory of Deliberate Practice increases students’ behavior of actually making use of these demonstrations. ACToP Mathematica Presentation

At this conference, I also co-presented with Irina Khusid and Jyh-Hann Chang, both from ESU, on undergraduate research. Part of this included results from a survey that we modified from an NSF survey on the evaluating the effectiveness of undergraduate research. Certainly this blog is dedicated to the teaching of statistics, but why do we need statistics in the first place? Of course, it is to help us answer questions from data collected in research. Jyh-Hann and I also talked about some of these findings in the PASSHE Psychology Pot Luck Round Table on Undergraduate Research. In short,I was most surprised why students work on individual research projects or with research faculty while undergraduates. This includes students saying “Because I thought it would be fun!” “I found the research topic interesting” “A faculty member encouraged me to.”

Yes, I have to admit, I assumed students would be more interested in simply researching for the sake of answering a question. In the end, these experiences seem to truly change students’ trajectory, including increasing their aspiration toward completing advanced degrees, and making students feel that they are more competitive for graduate school. Of the skills students feel they learned through the process, most are truly life skills for everyone: communication, ethics, working with others, multitasking. Thus, during a time when schools are looking for ways to save money, if you feel like you need justification for your Dean or Provost, I encourage you to either modify the NSF Undergraduate Research Grant, or contact me, and I’ll gladly send you a link to our modified survey, as this data is meaty enough to stave off that dean looking to cut some fiscal fat. Green Chang Khusid Undergrad Research ACToP presentation

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