Choosing a curriculum – Part 2

We have a collection of introductory statistics textbooks in my office, mostly written within the last 10 years, many of which were written by researchers in statistics education. I decided to go through them one by one, to help me shape my thoughts and inform the selection of a new textbook.

Chance Encounters – a first course in data analysis and inference by C.J. Wild and G.A.F. Seber: I liked the way the authors introduced datasets, where they come from, and what they represent. However, I didn’t want to discuss probability at all, nor provide a mathematical treatise of the central limit theorem. I wanted to take a more intuitive approach.

Introductory Statistics – exploring the world through data by R. Gould and C. Ryan: I liked the guided activities included in the textbook. However, I still struggle with how to translate such activities to the distance-based environment. Furthermore, the book still focused on z-values and t-values, something I did not want to teach.

Activity-based Statistics by R.L. Scheaffer, A. Watkins, J. Witmer, and M. Gnanadesikan: I really liked this textbook, and the activity-based pedagogy. However, I did not know how to translate this to a completely distance-based environment, which I think is still an open research question in statistics education.

Statistics – the art and science of learning from data by A. Agresti and C. Franklin: I really liked the section introducing data, which had a similar feel to Chance Encounters. Again, however, I did not want to have my students calculate t scores or z scores during inference.

Statistics – unlocking the power of data by R.H. Lock, P.F. Lock, K.L. Morgan, E.F. Lock, and D.F. Lock: I really liked the simulation based approach to teaching inference, and the use of the free software StatKey. Furthermore, the order of the chapters almost perfectly aligned with my vision of the course.

After examining these five text books, the Lock5 text book stood out to me as the most interesting. I briefly investigated other simulated based text books, but decided to stay with the Lock5 book, and our new curriculum was in place!

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