Statistics educators across the country have, in the last fifteen years or so, been emphasizing having students look at real data and explore it in various ways. Most of the methods we use in statistical analysis are tedious enough to implement that it is unrealistic for students to do all the necessary calculations by hand even on datasets that are not particularly large.
In MATH 1342, we expect students to understand the concepts and to understand the computations underlying most of the analyses, but to be able to use the computer to do the computations if they are tedious or repetitive. We also expect that they will use the exercises in the course to practice using the computer software in a way that makes it easy to use their skills on larger, more complex datasets in later courses or their profession and to extend their skills to use additional statistical techniques similar to those they have learned in our course.
Of course, the focus in the computer work is on determining which computer analyses to do and on interpreting the results. Simply producing computer output is not enough, even if the numbers and graphs are correct. The problems in our textbook are designed to elicit interpretations of the real and interesting data. The computer software is a very important tool.
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Last updated August 10, 2003. Comments, questions, suggestions?