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Duke University

Teaching Statistical Thinking: Part 1 Descriptive Statistics

Duke University via Coursera


While the primary aim of this course is to prepare high school teachers for teaching descriptive statistics, this course will enable any global citizen to understand the basic descriptive statistics presented by the media from breakfast to bedtime. Descriptive statistics, as the name implies, refers to the describing or summarizing of a set of data using graphics and number summaries. This course covers descriptive statistics for a single variable and for the relationship between two variables. Core principle videos will cover the statistical content, while satellite videos will discuss pedagogy, teaching resources, and analyzing data using JMP software. These satellite videos will present concepts via examples spanning pop culture, sports, youth, and other topics suitable for high school classrooms.


This class is taught in three units over 5 weeks

  1. Getting started with data (1 week)
  2. Single variable graphics and number summaries (1 week)
  3. Graphics and number summaries describing the relationship between two variables (2 weeks)
  4. Review (1 week)
The full list of topics are as follows:

Unit 1, Getting Started with Data
  • 01_01 Introduction
  • 01_02 Data, Variables, Unit of Observation/Analysis
Unit 2, Single Variable Description
  • 02_01 Graphics:  Histogram, Boxplot
  • 02_02 Number Summaries: Center
  • 02_03 Number Summaries: Spread
  • 02_04 Transformation and Standardization
  • 02_05 Bell-shaped Curves
Unit 3, Describing Relationships Between Two Variables
  • 03_01 Two Categorical Variables: Mosaic Plots
  • 03_02 Two Categorical Variables: Contingency Tables
  • 03_03 One Categorical, One Numeric Variable: Side by Side Boxplots
  • 03_04 Two Categorical Variables: Correlation
  • 03_05 Two Numeric Variables: Regression
  • 03_06:03_09  Review of entire course

Taught by

Dalene Stangl, Kate Allman and Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel


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