Feb 05, 2013


Photo Caption (Triola_3):Statistics textbook author, Marty Triola, joined Columbia State professors for a workshop on the Columbia campus. Triola demonstrates to faculty the importance of using statistics applications to gather and analyze real-world data that is accurate, relatable and reliable.

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. - Aug. 24, 2012) - - - Marty Triola, Ph.D., joined the math faculty of Columbia State for a half-day workshop exploring ways that faculty can teach statistics at the college level that achieves learning in concepts that are not limited to the actual mathematical calculation.

Triola, author of Essentials of Statistics, the statistics textbook used on many college campuses, urged faculty to keep topics relevant and approachable. In explaining differences in sampling techniques, Triola suggested that you can ask students, "Who is left handed, and who is right handed."

"We aren't just teaching how to calculate the percentage of people who happen to be left handed," he said. "We are teaching students that this was a poll and that the data of the survey wasn't based on who takes my class, but on a random sampling of people in the room."

Triola urged faculty to view teaching statistics as more than basic concepts. He said it teaches critical thinking skills, practical applications for using technology, real-world data analysis and collaboration as students work together to collect and analyze data.

Triola acknowledged that statistics should also help students learn to develop reports and give presentations of data which are all life skills that reach far beyond the world of a basic mathematics class.

In discussions following his workshop, Triola said that people need to be sensitive to the data that is being given to them. "It's an election year, and obviously, all sorts of polls are being released by candidates and media," he commented. "It's really important that people evaluate these polls based on how they were conducted, what the samples of respondents were, how people were chosen to take these surveys and then not just what the results are, but how reliable the results are against statistical benchmarks."

"These are the real-life applications for statistics," Triola said. "Without a clear grasp of this, people can make very wrong conclusions and make decisions that are fundamentally flawed."

While Triola may be recognized as one of the most popular textbook authors for statistics faculty and staff, he readily admits to discovering his love of statistics later in life.

"I grew up as a math kid, but it was later that I discovered that statistics has real applications," he said, "It's not an abstract mathematical concept."

Pearson Publishing brought the renowned author to Columbia State for the workshop. Triola said that math texts and resources have changed dramatically since he first published his statistics book.

"In the first edition, I had a supplement that was maybe a quarter of an inch think," he said. "The latest edition has 30 supplements, online tools and a complete online course option."

Triola is a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Dutchess Community College (Poughkeepsie, NY,) where he has taught statistics for over 30 years. He is the author of Elementary Statistics, Elementary Statistics Using Excel, Essentials of Statistics, and he is a co-author of Biostatistics for the Biological and Health Sciences, Statistical Reasoning for Everyday Life and Business Statistics.

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee's first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the sixth largest higher education system in the nation. For more information, please visit www.columbiastate.edu.