talk 😄

Statistics in a Liberal-Arts Context


Foundations is a two-semester sequence for first-year students at Georgetown College. The Fall course is common across all sections and stresses development of basic skills in analytical reading, argumentation and written communication in the context of material based largely in the humanities. The culminating act is the writing of thesis-driven essays. The Spring semester course varies in content by section and is intended to be a modestly interdiscipilinary course that continues basic skills development in a way that is appropriate to the discipline(s) under investigation. In this talk we review an attempt to teach elementary statistics as a second-semester Foundations course. We will examine the practice of reading, writing and argumentation in elementary statistics, especially as they come together in data analysis reports---the statistical analogue of a thesis-driven essay. Although relatively timeless liberal-arts skills are the primary focus of Foundations, we find that in statistics careful attention to the computing environment is crucial for the conscious development of these skills.

Georgetown, Ky