2005 United States Conference on Teaching Statistics (USCOTS)
Teaching an Entirely Online Statistics Course
David Y. Sze
Associate Professor, Monmouth University
Adjunct Professor, Various online universities
As with other courses, the pedagogy of teaching statistics courses has been changed, enhanced,
and sometimes made poorer with the inclusion of web-based capabilities. Most all would agree,
though, that online capabilities have enabled richer courses to be offered.
Statistics, like many of the scientific courses, requires a considerable amount of “telling” and
“showing” to be effective. Teaching a statistics course online is clearly different from just taking
a regular onground course and putting all the materials online. Most of the telling and showing
would be missing with such a strategy.
Students, particularly students in statistics service courses, find it very difficult to learn the
material on their own. I have found that many online students struggle even more than
traditional onground students, not just because of the absence of telling and showing activities,
but because many online students are non-traditional students and have not had any mathematics
courses for quite a while. Some of my online students, for example, have not had any
mathematics courses for 25 or 30 years.
Thus online students, even more than onground students, need the telling and showing. This
greater need conflicts with the reduced capability in online statistics courses. My spotlight
session highlights some online techniques that I have used to address these shortcomings.
My main area of new teaching methods investigation has been to provide telling and showing
activities that can be asynchronously accessed by online students. Asynchronous discussion
boards synchronous chat sessions are commonly used tools for online classes, but which are
insufficient to learn statistics. In addition to those, I have used pre-recorded lectures, pre-
recorded examples, record