Math students gain experience through the Academic Data Centre

Stats grad student Ke Xiao calls working with the Academic Data Centre an “incredibly special experience.”

Researchers had extra support at the Academic Data Centre in the Winter 2022 semester thanks to mathematics and statistics students. Nine students enrolled in the statistical consulting courses had the opportunity to assist in the centre to hone their skills and gain valuable hands-on experience.

The venture is part of a growing collaboration between the centre and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics that allows students at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels to apply their course learning to real scientific statistical analysis projects.

Students were required to assist researchers from the University of Windsor with their data analysis needs by advising appropriate and advanced statistical modelling and methods.

The experience will help develop the Practicum in Statistical Consulting, which will be the capstone course for the Certificate in Statistical Consulting to be launched in Winter 2024. The practicum is being designed to improve the technical and interpersonal techniques of statistical consulting through exposure to problems and ethics in a real-world environment.

“The interest in data and statistical consulting and its application within and outside of academia is increasing,” said University Librarian Selinda Berg. “We believe that this is a unique learning opportunity that the library can provide for students to practise their skills in statistical consulting with authentic user queries.”

Overseen by the data librarian, Berenica Vejvoda, and learning specialist and statistical consultant Rong Luo, students are immersed in the consultation process by observing as well as providing statistical support to the Academic Data Centre’s clients.

“Mentored by our statistical consultant, students have learned the practicalities of statistical consulting and gained new proficiencies in understanding complex statistical theory, methods, and analysis techniques,” said Vejvoda.

Ke Xiao, a graduate student of mathematics and statistics enrolled in STAT 8560 in the winter semester, was grateful for the experience the Academic Data Centre provided.

“It was an incredibly special experience during my time at the University of Windsor because it allowed me to be involved in real projects and research,” she said.

In addition to bettering teamwork, communication, and reporting skills, Xiao believes the software and statistical methods training will help with future career endeavours.

“I learned how to use software called SPSS, which is an extremely powerful tool for manipulating and deciphering survey data,” said Xiao. “I believe this new skill will increase my workplace competitiveness and work efficiency for my future career.”

The Department of Math and Statistics and the Academic Data Centre will continue their collaboration for the Fall 2022 semester. Faculty interested in incorporating data consultation into their courses can email libdata@uwindsor.ca.

The Academic Data Centre, on the first floor of Leddy Library, provides consultative assistance to students and researchers using data to support their research.

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