Internationalization of the Introductory Statistics Course - Can It Serve a Dual Purpose?

Internationalization of the Introductory Statistics Course - Can It Serve a Dual Purpose?

Zaki Eusufzai, Economics

R. Patricia Walsh SoTL Grant 2011-12 - Zaki Eusufzai

Globalization is a fact of life. In spite of this, undergraduates today have a very limited knowledge of the world. Recognizing this, universities in general and LMU in particular, have offered appropriate course to impart such knowledge to their students. This project investigates the viability of an alternative method. It asks the question: Can such international knowledge be taught indirectly while teaching a "non-international" introductory Statistics course? First, the students' initial international knowledge is measured through their responses to a set of questions. Then throughout the course examples, problem sets, and a semester long project are introduced which require the use of a basic international data set. The focus throughout is not on the data set but the statistical principles which are demonstrated using this data set. At the end of the semester, their international knowledge is re-tested in order to evaluate if exposure to numbers from the international economy, even though in the context of learning statistical principles, has improved their knowledge of the international economy. The results show that there is no overwhelming improvement in the students' international knowledge. The effect varied between the types of questions asked as well as between different course sections. A better method may be to make the dual purpose explicit to the students and make it part of the course.