People keep telling me, “You should teach!” I do seem to have a gift for explaining things in terms that can be understood. And, there are certain subjects — things people want to learn — that I know.
The readers of this blog include a lot of people interested in data. They want to know how to find patterns and determine whether they’re real, how to separate the trend from the noise, how to handle uncertainty. My readers are particularly interested in climate data, but probably want some skills they can apply to data in general.
So, I’m considering offering instruction online. There are two courses I have in mind, one for those who know only a little statistics or none at all, another for those who have some background but are interested in time series.
Stats 101 is to learn basic statistics in a way which will give you a genuine understanding of what it is and how it works. No prior statistics is assumed (but it won’t hurt) and you don’t need to know calculus. A bright high school student should be able to handle it easily. If you want to do more than just look at data, and especially if you want a solid foundation of understanding (not the “cookbook” approach too often used to teach statistics), this is for you.
Time Series will look at some of the specialized techniques of that discipline, including a deeper look at regression. It’s geared more to the physical sciences than is usual for an intro to time series. I’ll also share some of the notational conventions I’ve used which are a bit outside what’s usual in this field. A basic understanding of probability and statistics is needed, and yes we’ll use calculus.
If there’s sufficient interest out there, I’ll do it. I’ll start with two six-week courses, twice a week, of serious study — not “Oh my god another class” serious, but “Now I get it, I’m really ready to apply this stuff” serious. It’ll be night school so adults with day jobs (and students with day classes) can participate.
I’ll limit classes to keep things easier. Perhaps it’ll be one each of Stats 101 and Time Series, maybe it’ll be two classes of the same subject — it depends on how many want to learn these subjects.
Forsooth, ’tis better than thine
Maybe you’re one of those who would be interested in learing from someone with extensive knowledge, a gift for teaching, and lots of experience. You can do it online, in a setting that’s convenient but still allows the kind of personal attention and interaction that makes learning more fun, and much more effective. And it’ll be an online classroom, you won’t have to leave your house.
Maybe you know someone else who would be interested. Perhaps you’d like to make this happen for someone you value, who would value this knowledge — maybe a student who shows promise as a future scientist . I especially welcome the young, those who might be headed for science as a career — we can help them prepare for making sense out of the data that all scientists end up studying sooner or later (I think it would be a wonderful gift for some youngster you want to help). Just be sure they’re ready to be serious about it, because most of their fellow students are likely to be adults.
Teach thee I shall, but charge thee I must
My time ain’t free (except what I donate here on the blog). I’m thinking of charging $200 per student per course. With class size limited, you’d reserve your place by paying the tuition.
I’m soliciting comments. Would you be interested? Someone you know? Which course piques your interest? Are there other possibile subjects? What time of day/night would be best — early enough that east-coast folks don’t fall asleep but late enough that west-coast folks can still join?
Nothing is carved in stone yet. But if this comes to pass, and if you take one (or more) of my classes, I promise you this: I will not spend my time showing off how smart I am. I intend to show you how smart you are.