It’s been a while, but I think I’ve finally figured out how to make an on-line class work. Details about this will be forthcoming, but for now I wanted to ask those who hanker after the kind of course you can imagine me offering how much they’re thinking of paying.
Write the amount (be generous: make it a big, but true, number) below in comments, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the Contact Me page.
Impossible to answer without knowing how the course would work, I know. So, very roughly: videos and write ups with relevant reading, watched and read at your pace (free for all; no support). Homework and homework support for those that want it (costs depending on level of support). And a final project for those who want the whole class experience (costs more). Again, all at your pace.
I have two initial classes in mind, but will probably do one similar to my usual summer course first. This is more introductory. See this syllabus (pdf). If you’re already a working statistician or upper-level or higher statistics student, then the pace of the course will probably be too slow for you.
This is not a mathematics course! Thousands of professors and books will teach you the math. I will teach you understanding and meaning. There is some computer work, but I have got people through it who have never even opened a spreadsheet before.
Since I’m also working on a New & Improved! version of textbook, this class will follow its development. Here’s the old one, version 1.2 (pdf).
(Besides it’s many other flaws, the old textbook had words about spreadsheets and R which are no longer necessary, given the many resources on-line.)
The other class is pure philosophy, with the practical aim of understanding the differences in classical (frequentist), Bayesian, and the logical methods of analysis. This one is more along the lines of a standard philosophy of science course but with an emphasis on uncertainty. Think of a cross between Howson and Urbach, David Stove (second half of this book), and E.T. Jaynes.
Of course, the practical class has large elements of philosophy, just as the philosophy course has elements of the practical. But, even though I reference Jaynes, the philosophy class is NOT a mathematics course.1 This class is meant for the working scientist or the statistician who has fallen into a rut.
A word on the videos, some of which you may have already seen. If it all works out, I’ll be able to fund reasonable equipment to replace the beginner’s kit I’m currently working with.
Reason I’m putting the word out now is that if folks are only willing to pay little or nothing, then I don’t think I’ll continue the scheme. There’s certainly incentive to pay nothing. On-lines statistics courses can already be had free—but they’re all standard, party-line, by-the-book offerings. If you follow this blog, you know this is not me. It’s all up to you guys about what it’s worth.
Legal something-or-other. Although I maintain a distant but cordial relationship with Cornell (I am only employed there two weeks a year), the things I do on this blog are entirely independent. The courses I offer, just like these blog posts, have NOTHING to do with that or with any university. Because of this, the only thing you’d get out of my courses is an education and not a credential.
1Nothing in the world wrong with mathematics, and for a complete understanding of the field one has to have a healthy helping of mathematical knowledge. But the problem is in courses which concentrate on the proofs, the understanding is left far behind, or even eliminated. Reification enters and the equations become the meaning. This is what leads to the epidemic of over-certainty and flaming scientism we see everywhere.