With a background in quantitative research and a bent towards applied statistical work, I felt compelled to take Lisa Dierker’s Passion Driven Statistics. This course is offered on Wesleyan’s campus and has been modified for an online environment. Everything kicked off on March 25th and thus far, I have watched the first week of lectures and explored some of the course materials.
The course has several moving parts. There are video lectures which consist of narrated powerpoint slides and guided tutorials to set up statistical software and a tumblr.com account. The lectures are short videos, making them easy to watch. However, they’ve required full attention rather than listening on the go. I am already familiar with two statistical software packages and this MOOC teaches stats using a third. While I was motivated to take the class so I could gain some familiarity with this other software package, I’ve found the setup to be slightly frustrating because I need a PC machine to run everything.
Having taken multiple statistics classes in my graduate training, I am really impressed with Dierker’s ability to make statistics seem less intimidating. I am currently teaching some numbers-phobic students and they complain about any heavily quantitative readings we’ve had in class. I think this MOOC will help me to guide students who would otherwise bristle at quantitative research and give them some tools to consume it.
It’s technically week 3 of the course and I am still working through week 2 lectures. I do appreciate how quickly Dierker pushes students to work with data without any exposure to statistical concepts. I will report back after I get into the heavy-hitting statistics this week.