An 8-week course

2020’s outbreak of COVID-19 has affected many things, and one of them is the development of HSCI 3117 – no major overhaul of the course will occur, due to funding limitations, before the course is offered in Spring 2021. However, COVID-19 has re-invigorated my commitment to the importance of a statistically literate citizenry. Therefore, I hope to push forward with a bare-bones update of a new statistical literacy focused course.

One other bombshell was dropped – the course will now be an 8-wk course. I understand why the university may prefer the 8wk format, and I understand why many students do as well, but I’m not entirely convinced the format is in the best interests of students’ learning, because asking students to spend 14 hours a week never seems to quite pay off twice as much as only asking them to spend 7 hrs a week – there are diminishing returns.

After reviewing the original 15wk format, I can’t bring myself to cut any material, even though I know I am going to be asking a lot from my students – this is a literacy course, and as such, is reading intensive. The new weeks 2 and 3 require reading approximately 100 pages, which may startle statistics students but is typical for social science students – I don’t know how health science students will react. My goal is for students to acquire a general-level understanding of principles and terms, and I will, via discussion activities, help navigate nuances of the key concepts. To help them develop an understanding of why these statistical concepts are important, I plan to include readings from Stephen Stigler’s Seven Pillars of Statistical Wisdom in addition to Harvey Motulsky’s Intuitive Biostatistics as the main textbooks.

The plan is to rely heavily on the readings for each week, readiness quizzes to ensure basic comprehension, and discussion activities when I, as an active participant, will be able to refine my students’ understanding.

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