Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Stirring the curriculum at Harvard 

Michael Tinkler, commenting on the changes in the curriculum contemplated at Harvard:
If I could dictate a sole required course over in that division for our students it wouldn't be biology, though -- it would be statistics. I think a good statistics course is essential for the committee's goal that "Graduates of Harvard College should be able to understand the news and expository articles in journals such as Science and Nature."
Agreed. I could rant about some faculty here who misunderstand the meaning of median, I suppose, but the problem is really that we don't teach enough about the meaning of, say "40% chance of rain today" or "risk of loss of principal in this investment" or things like this. At SCSU we allow courses in math or statistics to act as if they are interchangeable for general education. That's probably a step in the right direction from the old gen ed math course, but I would prefer that all students be required to take BOTH math and statistics.