The Project Component of the

University of the Pacific STATS Workshop, June 9-16, 1996

Mary Parker

Before the workshop, participants were asked individually for ideas for projects and then were assigned to teams. This happened fairly late, so that many did not respond with individual ideas before the workshop began and several of the teams did not substantially communicate with each other before the workshop began.

After brief introductions on Sunday night (day 1), I distributed the assignment, with a tentative schedule for the week. This assignment was a modification of the assignment I give to my classes. The workshop handout included the handout of project assignments I give to my classes. I explained that the point of the project was to give them some experience of formulating questions, defining variables, collecting data, and selecting techniques for analysis. I pointed out that it should not be a particularly large task and they should aim to complete it during the week, including the write-up. The main point is to have some fun while learning something.

Also on Sunday night, Jon Cryer discussed working in teams and Beth Chance discussed sampling and experimental design for about ten minutes each. Following a short question and answer session, the teams met to plan their projects.

On Monday, Jon Cryer discussed sampling as part of his presentation.

On Tuesday morning, we did peer reviews. Each person reviewed one project other than their own. Part of the point of the peer review is that one of our goals in an intro stat course is to have the students learn to critique statistical studies. A peer review, when everyone is also responsible for working on a project, is a good way to help the students see the need to balance criticism with practicality.

The teams reviewed the peer review results right away and some made some revisions in their plans. Because of the timing, I did not look over the peer reviews before handing them to the teams. (I had trouble restraining people from going out to collect their data long enough to write the reviews. If I'd taken an hour or so to read them, the teams would have been long gone!) In a classroom, I would look over the peer reviews and make comments if any of them seemed unreasonable or if anything was omitted. In a classroom I would also have made them anonymous by cutting off the reviewer's name, but I did not do that here.

On Wednesday morning, we did a short evaluation (minute paper) on the progress of the projects so far. In response to various questions about how each of the presenters uses projects in their courses, we distributed Beth's and Robin's project handouts.

Several of the participants indicated that they'd like to have more time to talk with other particpants about what people have already been doing in their courses. We looked at the schedule and noticed that the 30 minutes allowed for each team presentation was considerably longer than would be needed for a presentation of the project. On Thursday, the assignment, then, was revised to include an additional presentation by the team on activities or projects.

In order to help the participants keep track of the various resources that have been discussed during the week, I prepared a list of the handouts and a list of resources for teaching statistics.