Statistics Meets Academic Conference

Students in David Bramlett’s statistics class put their learning on display this week through collaborative poster sessions this week. The project was a powerful way to put their semester’s learning to use, and presenting to small groups (rather than a formal speech to an entire class) was hugely preferred by the students. Of course, as with all larger scale projects, the journey wasn’t always smooth, such as when it was discovered (too late) that a free survey monkey account doesn’t allow an unlimited sample of participants. Nevertheless, students pushed through and applied their learning in interesting ways. David noticed that this particular project brought out motivated participation in a student that wasn’t always the most outwardly excited by math. One tension he’s still wrestling with is how to fairly and objectively assess projects like this beyond a checklist-like approach.

Want to see all of the posters? Take a gander at them in the north campus library. Interested in how Bramlett framed the assignment? See the snippets from his project description below:

For the final project, you address some questions that interest you with the statistical methodology you learned in Statistics.   You choose the question; you decide how to collect data; you do the analyses.  The questions can address almost any topic (although I have veto power), including topics in psychology, sociology, natural science, medicine, public policy, sports, law, etc. The final project  requires you to synthesize all the material from the course.  Hence, it’s one of the best ways to solidify your understanding of statistical methods.  Plus, you get answers to issues that pique your intellectual curiosity.

Your project will be presented in a poster session during the last week of class. In a poster session, each group makes visual materials that explain the project.  Then, people wander around looking at the posters and talking to the presenters, thereby learning about the various projects.  Poster sessions are extremely common at professional conferences in many disciplines, including statistics.  In our poster session, one member of each group will be stationed at the poster to answer questions, while the other member wanders around to examine the projects.  The poster-sitters and wanderers switch off after the wanderers have examined all the posters.

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