The Joy of statistical consulting: a case-based course in statistics

One of the most impactful classes that I have ever taken is the “statistical consulting” course by Prof.Richard Einsporn at the University of Akron. The course provided hands-on experience giving consulting to clients that will approach the center of statistical consulting at the university. Contrary to a traditional stat class, each session we would have a meeting to discuss the request of several clients and then would team up based on our preferences and projects needs to work in small groups. The responsible group then would follow up with clients as their own individual projects. Although There was no limitation on the number of clients you could take on, nobody would want to bite something that they could not chew in this class.

This course offered me a distinct opportunity to apply theories to the real need of people. Sometimes a rather abstract concept that I never thought would be important, made all the differences. I learned that how people will have different “Lingo” and you need to get it right, to make your solution appealing and effective, something that theory never taught me. Also, it was challenging to solve an open-ended real-world problem, comparing to solving math questions where you are fully aware of what are the possible steps.

It is interesting to mention that I was not aware that the course that we choose for this post should be about a case-based course we took: it happened that the course that really impacted me is actually taught in a case-based approach. Although I wished more courses were offered in this method, I do not think this is the greatest idea for preliminary courses that a certain understanding of the topic is not established. I could visualize that this approach would be confusing, overwhelming and insufficient for some courses, yet it is an excellent choice for some mid-level courses that could connect the theory and practice before one takes advanced courses that delve too much into abstract concepts.

6 thoughts on “The Joy of statistical consulting: a case-based course in statistics

  1. That experience sounds wonderful. I think that doing real-life cases also gives students the opportunities to prepare for a career in such a field. I would love to integrate an opportunity like this for my students some day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Mohsen,

    I agree, this class sounds like an awesome experience! I remember some of my higher stats courses during my masters coursework used some case-based learning, but never to the extent of real-world consultation. Those examples in my stat courses, especially those related to how the professor or other professionals had used the methods we were learning to solve real world problems, really helped cement the importance (and a personal interest) in stats. I would go a step further too and suggest encouraging students in higher education to seek opportunities like the course you describe. I see it as similar to working in a firm for law school or doing rounds as a nursing student – applying those in-house skills to real world problems can really help promote the life-long learning we all strive to provide and achieve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I cannot agree more! I’m glad that you are coming from a similar background and appreciate your nice words. The “Real-world” scenario makes the stakes go higher and surprisingly makes you learn more. I never forget how anxious I was the first time: not saying something dumb, making sure that I’m understanding my client’s situation. Double-checking my analysis, etc.


  3. Hi Mohsen,
    I appreciate your post, and I related with you about how wonderful it is to have these type of courses for learning and connecting theory to practice. I think an important aspect as a learner it is to be able to have this opportunities and interact with real clients. Learning how to communicate with them and understanding their lingo it is crucial to adapt in a career.
    I also, agreed with you in the importance to apply this pedagogy in certain levels. I think having a baseline knowledge is important before having case based experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

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