Article

Project-Based Learning in Introductory Statistics: Comparing Course Experiences and Predicting Positive Outcomes for Students from Diverse Educational Settings

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Abstract

In order to evaluate the acceptability and potential impact of the Passion-Driven Statistics curriculum, this article describes background characteristics, and course experiences and outcomes of students enrolled in the multidisciplinary, introductory, project-based course in liberal arts colleges, large state universities, regional college/universities, and community colleges. We found that the course could be successfully delivered across these diverse educational settings. After controlling for educational setting and pre-survey responses to individual outcome measures, consistent predictors of positive course outcomes included student's initial interest in conducting research, their higher likelihood of enrolling in a statistics course if it were not required, finding the project-based course less challenging, and finding the research project more rewarding than other students. Regional college/university, and community college students reported working significantly harder in the course and finding the course more challenging than students taking the course at liberal arts colleges or state universities. Students from liberal arts colleges generally reported more positive course experiences than students from other educational settings. However, when compared to students from both liberal arts colleges and large state universities, those from regional colleges/universities reported being more likely to have learned more in the project-based course than in other college courses they had taken. Taken together, the project-based course was successfully delivered across diverse post-secondary educational settings and provides a promising model for getting students hooked on the power and excitement of applied statistics.

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... More concretely, new introductory courses are being developed at the undergraduate level to address some of these issues. Dierker, et al. (2018) discusses an introductory statistics course that uses project based learning for both science and non-science majoring students. The focus is on encouraging students to learn how to select the appropriate methods and tools for their research questions, rather than learning a fixed set of methods and tools in isolation. ...
... Hardin, Horton, & Nolan (2015) gives an overview of a range of new introductory data science courses that "all share a goal of having students become proficient in data technologies and programming tools for problem solving with data" and the paper suggests Programming, Data technologies and formats, and Statistical Topics as topics to consider when integrating data science into statistics curricular. This is more prescriptive than the approach taken by Dierker et al. (2018) where the choice of tools and methods varied across implementations and students within a class. This paper presents a statistics problem solving course at the MSc level, taught for the first time to 47 students at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), Cameroon as part of an MSc in Mathematical Sciences. ...
... The approach taken in the course had strong overlaps with that of (Dierker, et al., 2018) in their project-based learning course. Both courses took the approach of presenting methods and tools in the context of (research) questions and realistic statistical problems. ...
Conference Paper
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A “Statistics Problem-Solving” course has been designed for the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) and given to 47 students on a Mathematical Sciences MSc in Cameroon. The course exposed students to problems in statistics ranging from design, collection, manipulation and organisation of data through to analysis and reporting through games and simulated and real data. Students also worked in groups to explore and report on a specific problem. These included climate for agriculture, procurement for corruption, a poverty survey and 5 other topics. The students’ evaluations confirmed that the course was an “eye opener” with some students stating a new-found interest despite no previous background in statistics. For others, it was totally different to their past statistics courses. This paper presents this statistics problem-solving course, which was designed to excite and engage students through experiential learning.
... En este sentido, numerosos investigadores a lo largo de los últimos años han propuesto modelos de enseñanza centrados en el alumno y tendientes a promover el compromiso con el aprendizaje, el trabajo en equipo, el razonamiento y el pensamiento estadístico, entre otras habilidades (Batanero, 2013;Batanero y Diaz, 2004, 2011Dierker et al., 2018;Markulin et al., 2021). En esta línea de innovación pedagógica se encuentra la metodología de enseñanza basada en proyectos, la cual se define comúnmente como un enfoque de instrucción basado en actividades relacionadas con el mundo real, que tiene como objetivo captar el interés y el entusiasmo de los estudiantes (Ben-Zvi, 2011;Dierker et al., 2018). ...
... En este sentido, numerosos investigadores a lo largo de los últimos años han propuesto modelos de enseñanza centrados en el alumno y tendientes a promover el compromiso con el aprendizaje, el trabajo en equipo, el razonamiento y el pensamiento estadístico, entre otras habilidades (Batanero, 2013;Batanero y Diaz, 2004, 2011Dierker et al., 2018;Markulin et al., 2021). En esta línea de innovación pedagógica se encuentra la metodología de enseñanza basada en proyectos, la cual se define comúnmente como un enfoque de instrucción basado en actividades relacionadas con el mundo real, que tiene como objetivo captar el interés y el entusiasmo de los estudiantes (Ben-Zvi, 2011;Dierker et al., 2018). ...
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In order to evaluate the impact of the implementation of project-based teaching in three university courses of the FBCB-UNL in 2021, an adaptation of a validated questionnaire was used. Of 72 students who responded, most found the methodology useful or very useful despite the fact that they consider the level of complexity high. The observed results suggest that the teaching of Statistics using this methodology promotes the commitment of students with their learning, teamwork, and develops the statistical thinking and skills necessary for professionals in the world of work today. Con el propósito de evaluar el impacto de la implementación de una enseñanza basada en proyectos, en tres carreras universitarias de la FBCB-UNL en 2021, se usó una adaptación de un cuestionario validado. De 72 estudiantes que respondieron, a la mayoría les pareció útil o muy útil la metodología pese a que consideran elevado el nivel de complejidad. Los resultados observados sugieren que la enseñanza de Estadística utilizando esta metodología promueve el compromiso de los alumnos con su aprendizaje, el trabajo en equipo y desarrolla el pensamiento estadístico y competencias necesarias para los profesionales del mundo laboral actual.
... In fact, PBL should be seen an instructional model based on a constructivist approach to learning, which entails the construction of knowledge with multiple perspectives, within a social activity, allowing for self-awareness of learning in a context-dependent scenario (Tamim and Grant, 2013;Çevik and Üredi, 2016;Vanichvatana, 2020). Dierker et al. (2018) focuses on inquiry-based projects as the type of project-based learning and most commonly defined as an instructional approach based on authentic, real-world activities that are aimed at engaging student interest and enthusiasm. Analyzing PBL as process, it could be stated that it is important to provide students an answer to question or solve a problem, in order to allow students to face challenges that lead to answers, reflect on ideas, and make decisions that affect project outcomes. ...
... Indeed, self-regulated educational process is seen as an effective pathway to involve digital-age learners, engaging them in real-life problems resolved through creative thinking. In this sense, PBL can also be seen as a management process, which comprises a set of complex endeavours based on challenging questions, research activities, decision making and creation of realistic and meaningful outputs (Blumenfeld et al. 1991;Thomas, 2000;Arce et al., 2013;Hutchison, 2016;Dierker et al. 2018;Kozikoglu and Onur, 2019). PBL as a tool could be characterized with a lot of advantages, but its implementation process faces some issues and challenges, this paper aims to address this issue by discussing some of the major challenges faced by PBL projects in order to make PBL implementation more smooth and effective process. ...
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It has long been acknowledged that effective learning is grounded on opportunities to explore problems and think critically, thus creating a solid base for knowledge economy development. In this vein, there have been concentrated reform initiatives across many content areas that have integrated authentic and student-driven instructional approaches. Within the context of the 21st-century education paradigm, the acquisition and development of new competencies and technical skills require new authentic learning methods. The growing popularity of the project-based learning paradigm, is related to extended opportunities in terms of knowledge attainment, facilitating the acquisition of several transversal competencies such as team work, search and collection of information and synthesis and analysis abilities. However, PBL learning strategies should be developed in compliance with the educational challenges faced by the new technique's implementation. In light of this reasoning, this paper presents a literature review on PBL and discusses PBL's implementation opportunities and challenges faced by academic staff, business representatives and students. A key point is to highlight the concept of networking among teachers, students and the business sector.
... Hence, it may obstruct the ability of a focal firm to closely integrate and consequently decrease the responsiveness of suppliers [25]. The Electronix offers illustrations that how the company plays its role to reduce its suppliers and efforts for increasing responsiveness of the supplier [26]. However, Electronix being a new entrant, having less vertical integration as compared to its competitors, the company is inclined to outsource activities that are not key competencies, indicating high dependency on suppliers. ...
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The main objective of the study is to investigate the impact of the supply chain innovation, supply chain transaction cost, supply chain risk and supply chain responsiveness as antecedents of the supply base and its complexity. The study attempted to understand the way in which transaction costs, supplier responsiveness, supplier innovation, and supply risk are affected by the supply base complexity, and the study also expressed them in liner relationships. With the supply base complexity, it became easier to understand ways for managing supply base. Therefore, the study is among the pioneering studies on the issues. So, current study has used SEM-PLS as statistical tool to answer the research questions raised in this study and research objectives envisaged in the current study. The findings of the current study have provided support to with the hypothesized results. This study will be helpful for policymakers and researchers in examining the link between supply chain innovation, supply chain transaction cost, supply chain risk and supply chain responsiveness as antecedents of the supply base and its complexity.
... Through this process, students learn the importance of replication within the scientific process while also benefitting from a hands-on experience with research. Passion-Driven Statistics, another resource for educators, provides a multidisciplinary, project-based curriculum that supports students in conducting original research (Dierker et al., 2018). Both of these offer individual instructors toolkits, training, and support for individual instructors wanting to incorporate research into their courses. ...
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In ethics courses, students need to begin or continue their transformation from smart, motivated people to ethical, self-reflective professionals. This chapter focuses on some principles and strategies to achieve that goal, including backward design, developing an effective course atmosphere, the nature of teaching and learning ethics, and skill development. Rather than thinking first about classroom activities, reading assignments, and topics, instructors who use backward design start with consideration of the goals they wish their students to achieve, then move on to how they will assess whether students meet those goals. Only then can they design specific, effective activities and assignments for a course. We explore several other principles and assumptions relevant to the teaching of ethics. We do this by presenting an instructor’s observations and reflections on his graduate ethics course, followed by three graduate students’ views of (a) the course and (b) how the instructor attempted to actualize these principles.
... Past studies have reached a consensus wherein it is important to apply effective educational practices in the statistics teaching and learning process (Da Silva and Pinto, 2014). To this end, the main challenge typically faced in teaching the statistics course is the process of triggering interaction, reasoning, and collaboration across different disciplinary boundaries (Dierker, Evia, Freeman, Woods, Zupkus, Arnholt, & Rose, 2018). In particular, Dekard (2017) has found that students generally express negative views on introductory statistics courses and elicit merely a few useful skills from their participation. ...
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Teaching and learning processes can be effectively improved when the learning activities encounter an individual’s experience and interaction with their surrounding environments. Such interaction is highly significant throughout the learning process due to its role in enabling student participation and learning knowledge integration. This paper presents the option of teaching pedagogy for statistics teaching via project-based learning. This teaching method conduces cognitive development during the learning process by fostering active learning as it implements the application as opposed to the memorisation of statistical concepts. Therefore, a project was carried out with underpinned a common topic by all groups of students. The approach was incorporated in an undergraduate Statistical Methods class consisted of 34 business economics students in which they were to evaluate the learning process at the end of the course. Data collection consisted of closed-form and open-ended questions directed to the students for them to express their perceptions of project-based learning. The results showed that throughout the phases of project-based learning implementation, the students found that the processes of data presentation and analysis and research result discussion were challenging phases. They revealed the need for adjustment while carrying out a project, which was in line with the insight regarding the benefits and limitations faced by population. In particular, the aspect of limitations included the complexity of group work relationships and accessibility of resources applied in the project, while the benefit aspects are an increased level of student engagement in the learning process and their understanding of statistical concepts.
... Alternatively, artificial datasets could be provided in those circumstances where real data are not appropriate, but it is important for such datasets to be as realistic as possible to motivate students (Bradstreet 1996). Provision of real datasets provides an ideal opportunity to implement Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in statistics teaching (Boyle 1999;Jaki and Autin 2009;Marriott, Davies, and Gibson 2009;Dierker et al. 2018a). ...
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... Past studies have reached a consensus wherein it is important to apply effective educational practices in the statistics teaching and learning process (Da Silva and Pinto, 2014). To this end, the main challenge typically faced in teaching the statistics course is the process of triggering interaction, reasoning, and collaboration across different disciplinary boundaries (Dierker, Evia, Freeman, Woods, Zupkus, Arnholt, & Rose, 2018). In particular, Dekard (2017) has found that students generally express negative views on introductory statistics courses and elicit merely a few useful skills from their participation. ...
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... On the contrary, such an approach could embed that within a broader problem-solving skill set. There have been recent efforts to develop problem-solving and project-based introductory statistics courses with a focus on data skills, independent of the choice of statistical software by the lecturers and the students (Parsons, Stern, & Stern, 2019;Dierker et al., 2018). This problemsolving approach focuses on data skills and is almost independent of mathematical background or programming skills. ...
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... Whether it is mobile phone, automobiles, high-end technological products or computers, in order to survive in industry, shorter life cycles need persistent offerings of new products. Consequently, firms function under highly uncertain industrial environment (Ciccullo et al., 2018;Dierker et al., 2018;Dincer and Kilinç, 2018). Such as, persistent product offerings trigger demand uncertainty (Fayezi, Zutshi& O'Loughlin, 2017). ...
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Upward trends in programming careers and increases in programming in less traditionally computer-oriented occupations threaten to further increase the current underrepresentation of both females and individuals from racial minority groups in these disciplines. Using administrative data (2009 – 2014), the present study compares demographic characteristics of students enrolled in a course that introduced programming: a multidisciplinary data analysis course, an introductory programming course, or an introductory computer science (CS) gateway course. The multidisciplinary data analysis course enrolled significantly more female students and students with lower Math SAT scores. Females were overrepresented in the data analysis course and underrepresented in the introductory programming and CS gateway courses relative to the larger campus community, with similar findings for underrepresented minority students. Less emphasis on traditional approaches to introductory programming and increased interdisciplinary opportunities to tackle real world questions may be one way to improve access to programming experiences for students from a wider range of educational, social and economic backgrounds.
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Background: Upward trends in data-oriented careers threaten to further increase the underrepresentation of both females and individuals from racial minority groups in programs focused on data analysis and applied statistics. To begin to develop the necessary skills for a data-oriented career, project-based learning seems the most promising given its focus on real-world activities that are aimed at engaging student interest and enthusiasm. Method: Using pre and post survey data, the present study examines student background characteristics, learning experiences and course outcomes for a cohort of 33 rising high school seniors involved in a two-week, accelerated version of a project-based data analysis and applied statistics curriculum. Results: On average, students rated the experience as rewarding and the vast majority (78.1%) felt that they had accomplished more than they had expected. Based on responses to both the pre and post course surveys, roughly half of the students reported increases in confidence in applied skills (i.e. developing a research question, managing data, choosing the correct statistical test, effectively presenting research results, and conducting a statistical analysis of data), while more than 80% reported increased confidence in writing code to run statistical analyses. Fully 84.4% of students reported interest in one or more follow-up courses with interest in computer programming being endorsed by the largest number of students (53.1%). Conclusions: These findings support previous research showing that real-world, project-based experiences afford the best hope for achieving the kind of analytic and statistical literacy necessary for meaningful engagement in research, problem solving and professional development.
Article
Many teachers of statistics recommend using real-life data during class lessons. However, there has been little systematic study of what effect this teaching method has on student engagement and learning. The present study examined this question in a first-year university statistics course. Students (n= 38) were interviewed and their reflections on the use of real-life data during the classes were coded into themes. Resulting themes were (a) relevant perspective in learning, (b) interest, (c) learn/remember material, (d) motivation, (e) involvement/engagement, and (f) understanding of statistics. The results indicate both cognitive and affective/motivational factors are associated with using real-life data to teach statistics. The results also suggest the features in data sets statistics teachers should look for when designing their lessons. © International Association for Statistical Education (IASE/ISI), November, 2013.
Article
We investigae the views of service students about statistics, learning statistics and using statistics in their future profession, based on information obtained from a series of interviews analysed using a phenomenographic approach. In previous studies, we have described statistics major students’ conceptions of their subject and their learning. Our main conclusion is that, contrary to expectations, service students show the same range of variation in their views as do statistics major students. We examine the implications of our findings for the development of pedagogical approaches and learning materials that help students in such situations learn statistics effectively, and enhance their use of statistics as a tool in their future professional lives.
Article
While models are an important concept in statistics, few introductory statistics courses at the tertiary level put models at the core of the curriculum. This paper reports on a radically different approach to teaching statistics at the tertiary level, one that uses models and simulation as the organizing theme of the course. The focus on modeling and simulation—along with inference—was facilitated by having students use TinkerPlotsTM software for all modeling and analysis. Results from a 3-month teaching experiment suggest that a course focused on modeling and simulation through randomization and resampling methods in which students learn to think using a powerful and conceptual modeling tool can foster ways of thinking statistically. Furthermore, such an approach seems to help students develop experiences with and appreciation for the science and practice of statistics.
Article
This paper focuses on a third arm of statistical development: statistical thinking. After surveying recent definitions of statistical thinking, implications for teaching beginning students (including non-majors) are discussed. Several suggestions are given for direct instruction aimed at developing "habits of mind" for statistical thinking in students. The paper concludes with suggestions for assessing students' ability to think statistically. While these suggestions are primarily aimed at non-majors, many statistics majors would also benefit from further development of these ideas in their undergraduate education.
Article
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between instructor immediacy and statistics anxiety. It was predicted that students receiving immediacy would report lower levels of statistics anxiety. Using a pretest-posttest-control group design, immediacy was measured using the Instructor Immediacy scale. Statistics anxiety was measured using the Statistics Anxiety Rating Scale (STARS). Results indicated that instructor immediacy is significantly related to six factors of statistics anxiety, with immediacy explaining between 6% and 20% of the variance in students' anxiety levels. Instructors should attempt to increase their use of immediacy behaviors in order to decrease anxiety.
Article
This paper drew upon a recent book (Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology) to summarize a number of prospects and challenges arising from the appropriation of digital technology into learning and educational practice. Tensions between traditional models of schooling and the affordances of digital media were noted, while the promise of these technologies for shaping a new system of education was reviewed. It was argued that new technology brings radical opportunities but also significant challenges. The urgency of seeking a coherent model for the future of education in a technological age was stressed.
Article
This article reports on the results of a planning grant studying the effects of a highly rated curriculum unit on a diverse student population. The treatment was introduced to 1500 eighth grade students in five middle schools selected for their ethnic, linguistic, and socioeconomic diversity. Students were given pre-, post-, and delayed posttests on a Conservation of Matter Assessment and measures of motivation and engagement. This quasi-experiment found statistically significant posttest results for achievement, basic learning engagement, and goal orientation. Analyses of disaggregated data showed that subgroups of students in the treatment condition outscored their comparison group peers (n = 1500) in achievement in all cases, except for students currently enrolled in ESOL. Analysis of video data of a diverse group of four students as the unit was enacted suggests that students entered a learning environment that permitted them to function in different, but consistent ways over time; that is, the frequency of students' manipulation of objects showed a different pattern of engagement for each of the four students compared with patterns of verbal responses such as the use of scientific terms. The results of this planning grant paved the way for a large study of the scale-up of highly rated curriculum units. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 42: 912–946, 2005
Article
The introductory statistics course has traditionally targeted consumers of statistics with the intent of producing a citizenry capable of a critical analysis of basic published statistics. More recently, statistics educators have attempted to centre the intro course on real data, in part to motivate students and in part to create a more relevant course. The success of this approach is predicated on providing data that the students see as real and relevant. Modern students, however, have a different view of data than did students of 10 or even 5 years ago. Modern statistics courses must adjust to the fact that students' first exposure to data occurs outside the academy. Copyright (c) 2010 The Author. Journal compilation (c) 2010 International Statistical Institute.
Article
Many innovative approaches to education such as problem-based learning (PBL) and inquiry learning (IL) situate learning in problem-solving or investigations of complex phenomena. Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006) grouped these approaches together with unguided discovery learning. However, the problem with their line of argument is that IL and PBL approaches are highly scaffolded. In this article, we first demonstrate that Kirschner et al. have mistakenly conflated PBL and IL with discovery learning. We then present evidence demonstrating that PBL and IL are powerful and effective models of learning. Far from being contrary to many of the principles of guided learning that Kirschner et al. discussed, both PBL and IL employ scaffolding extensively thereby reducing the cognitive load and allowing students to learn in complex domains. Moreover, these approaches to learning address important goals of education that include content knowledge, epistemic practices, and soft skills such as collaboration and self-directed learning.
Article
This paper provides an overview of current research on teaching and learning statistics, summarizing studies that have been conducted by researchers from different disciplines and focused on students at all levels. The review is organized by general research questions addressed, and suggests what can be learned from the results of each of these questions. The implications of the research are described in terms of eight principles for learning statistics from Garfield (1995) which are revisited in the light of results from current studies. Cet article présente une vue d'ensemble de la recherche actuelle sur l'enseignement et l'étude de la statistique. Il résume les analyses qui ont été menées par des chercheurs de disciplines différentes. Le travail s'organise autour de questions de recherche générales qui ont été adressées, et suggère ce que l'on peut apprendre à partir de ces résultats au sujet de chacune de ces questions. Les implications de la recherche sont décrites en termes de huit principes sur l'étude de la statistique de Garfield (1995) qui sont repris selon les résultats d'études actuelles.
Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE): College Report
  • M Aliaga
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Aliaga, M., Cuff, C., Garfield, J., Lock, R., Utts, J., and Witmer, J. (2005). Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE): College Report. American Statistical Association. Retrieved from: http://www.amstat.org/education/gaise/.
Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) College Report
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Carver, R., Everson, M., Gabrosek, J., Horton, N., Lock, R., Mocko, M., Rossman, A., Holmes Rowell, G., Velleman, P., Witmer, J., Wood, B. (2016). Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) College Report. Retrieved from: http://www.amstat.org/asa/education/Guidelines-for-Assessment-and-Instruction-in-Statistics-Education-Reports.aspx.
What's wrong with Stat 101? Presentation given at the United States Conference on Teaching Statistics (USCOTS)
  • R De Veaux
De Veaux, R. (2015). What's wrong with Stat 101? Presentation given at the United States Conference on Teaching Statistics (USCOTS). Retrieved from: https://www.causeweb.org/cause/sites/default/files/uscots/uscots15/presentations/DickOpening.p ptx.
Strength in Numbers: A Multidisciplinary, Project-Based Course in Introductory Statistics
  • L Dierker
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Dierker, L., Kaparakis, E., Rose, J., Selya, A. (2012). Strength in Numbers: A Multidisciplinary, Project-Based Course in Introductory Statistics, Journal of Effective Teaching, 12: 4-14.
Evaluating access: Comparing Enrollment Patterns in Traditional versus Multidisciplinary, Project-based Introductory Statistics Courses
  • L Dierker
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Dierker, L., Cooper, J., Selya, A., Alexander, J., and Rose, J., (2015). Evaluating access: Comparing Enrollment Patterns in Traditional versus Multidisciplinary, Project-based Introductory Statistics Courses, Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 4: 22.
Evaluating Impact: A comparison of learning experiences and outcomes of students completing a traditional versus multidisciplinary
  • L Dierker
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Dierker, L., Woods, K., Singer-Freeman, K., Germano, K., Cooper, J.L. Rose, J. (under review). Evaluating Impact: A comparison of learning experiences and outcomes of students completing a traditional versus multidisciplinary, project-based introductory statistics course.
A Problem Based Learning Meta Analysis: Differences Across Problem Types, Implementation Types, Disciplines, and Assessment Levels
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Walker, A., and Leary, H. (2009). A Problem Based Learning Meta Analysis: Differences Across Problem Types, Implementation Types, Disciplines, and Assessment Levels. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 3: 6-28. DOI: 10.7771/1541-5015.106.
Least angle regression
  • B Efron
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Efron, B., Hastie, T., Johnstone, I., Ribshirani (2004). Least angle regression. Anuls of Statistics, 32(2): 407-499.