tips for STAT 1380 Instructors

 from Dr. Larry Lesser, Stat 1380 Coordinator since fall 2004

1.)Many resources are embedded throughout my recent syllabus (which you are welcome to adapt and excerpt from):   see top of

2.)While the addition of this course to the Core Curriculum had resulted in a handful of students in each section being from a variety of majors, the course is otherwise populated by future teachers (mostly pre-service elementary teachers and some pre-service middle school teachers) and this is a big reason why the course has a “literacy” approach rather trying to cover lots of theorems and hypothesis tests (this serves the Core Curriculum mission well, also, as the Course Objectives on the above syllabus link show).  To prepare these future teachers for success on their TExES/ExCET exams (see the probability and statistics questions in the #103 and 115, for example) and in their future teaching, it is not enough to “cover” content.  We must also model a more interactive, investigative pedagogy (which happens to be more aligned with how statistics is practiced anyway!) and give students a way to visualize how they might teach some of the big ideas (adapted for the age level of their classes, of course).

3.) is a handout I took the initiative to create in 2004 to make sure students were exposed to more probability ideas than is in the Utts chapter, just in case they appeared on the TExES/ExCET exam;

here is a link to a sample space of two dice that can be helpful to project in class:

4.)It is helpful to make the course topical and meaningful to include current and recent examples from the news.  Here some examples of places to get such examples:,,,,,, etc.

5.) is a handout I took the initiative to create (and then update each time a new version of Microsoft Excel was released) to show students (on a “lab day” where we reserve the ATLAS computer lab (UGLC 202) for a class period during the last month of the course) how all the major calculations and graphs from the course can be readily and nicely done using the widely available spreadsheet package Excel (that almost all of them have prior familiarity with, even if not to do statistics with it).  While you are hopefully modeling appropriate use of technology (e.g., graphing calculator, Minitab, Internet applet) in your classroom, it is very meaningful and appreciated by students for them to have at least one sustained experience like this where each student is in front of their own computer. 


6.)In 2010, Dr. Amy Wagler began preparing many online resources for Stat 1380 that may be of interest to you.  And, of course, the front office staff can make sure you have access to the textbook and any ancillary instructor materials/manuals you may find useful.

7.)For language issues that may arise, see:    Lesser, L. (2011). Supporting Learners of Varying Levels of English Proficiency. Statistics Teacher Network, 77, 2-5.

8.)  useful resources on the teaching of mathematics/statistics:

Larsen, M. D. (2006). “Advice for New and Student Lecturers on Probability and

Statistics.” Journal of Statistics Education, 14(1),

Lesser, L. M. & Kephart, K. (2011). “Setting the Tone: A Discursive Case Study of

Problem-Based Inquiry Learning to Start a Graduate Statistics Course for In-Service Teachers.”  Journal of Statistics Education, 19(3),

Garfield, J. & Everson, M. (2009). “Preparing Teachers of Statistics: A Graduate

Course for Future Teachers.” Journal of Statistics Education, 17(2),

DeLong, M. and  Winter, D. (2002). Learning to Teach and Teaching to Learn Mathematics: Resources

for Professional Development.  (MAA Notes #57)

Friedberg, S., et al. (2001) Teaching Mathematics in Colleges and Universities: Case Studies for Today’s

Classroom. American Mathematical Society and Mathematical Association of America

Garfield, J. (2005). Innovations in Teaching Statistics. (MAA Notes 65)

Gelman, A. & Nolan, D. (2002). Teaching Statistics: A Bag of Tricks. Oxford University Press

Gordon, F. & Gordon, S., Eds. (1992) Statistics for the Twenty-First Century.  (MAA Notes 26)

Hulsizer, M. R. & Woolf, L. M. (2009). A Guide to Teaching Statistics: Innovations and Best Practices


Moore, T. (2000) Resources for Undergraduate Instructors Teaching Statistics.  (MAA Notes #52)
Rishel, T. W. (2000) Teaching First: A Guide for New Mathematicians (MAA Notes #54)