A.1 Course philosophy

I don’t have to tell you that these are unusual times. And this course may also be different from what you’ve seen before – whether that’s high-school math/stat courses, or even other courses here at Mount Holyoke. So things might not always look like what you’re used to, and I want to take a moment to talk about why they look the way they do.

I intend this course to be:

Come to think of it, this is a pretty good list of philosophies for applied statistics, too.

  1. Ethical
  2. Interesting
  3. Flexible
  4. Applicable
  5. Feasible

Incidentally, I really enjoy talking about teaching and learning. So if you’re ever wondering why something is the way it is, I am super happy to chat with you about it!

Every choice I’ve made about the design and content of this course is motivated by these points. Sometimes they align nicely (like “interesting” and “applicable,” at least most of the time!). Sometimes they’re in conflict: for example, a completely flexible course isn’t feasible for me to lead, and some kinds of flexibility would interfere with equity or inclusivity, violating philosophy #1.

Real Talk: I’ve done, and am doing, my best to balance all of this, and to stay on top of this semester’s ever-changing circumstances. That said, this course isn’t perfect. All of us are going to have to make adjustments on the fly. I want to encourage you to be open with me about what’s working well for you, what’s challenging or confusing, and what you think could be changed. Sometimes things can’t be changed, because that would end up creating another problem, but it’s still valuable for me to know what you think – and we can talk about ways to make the current situation work better for you. I want you to succeed in this course (whatever success means for you!), and I am here to help you make that happen.