Events Calendar

Talk by Bethany White (DSAS colloquium)

Thursday, April 25, 2019
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Western Science Centre (WSRC)
Room: 248

Title: Rethinking Introductory Statistics for Life Sciences


Abstract: Despite serious reproducibility concerns in science, an increased awareness of the prevalence of statistical errors in life sciences research, and even a tightening up of quantitative reporting standards in journals, these errors continue to permeate life sciences research. Yet, life sciences students often only need to take one mandatory statistics course in their undergraduate programs. What can we, as statistics educators, do to help prepare tomorrow’s life sciences researchers with such limited time? As a collaborative effort between the Department of Statistical Sciences and the Human Biology Program at the University of Toronto, a second-year undergraduate course was introduced last year to integrate statistics instruction with research design to improve the quantitative training of life sciences students. This year, a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) project was conducted in this course to explore how students’ perceptions about statistics, their awareness of statistical issues in research, and their abilities to make statistical decisions in research evolve from the beginning to the end of this course. This study was conducted to inform course changes and, more broadly, to expand the dialogue about the quantitative training of future life science researchers. In this talk, I will describe the course, highlight some of the SoTL findings, and discuss implications and potential next steps for both teaching practice and SoTL.

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