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Twitter connects stats instructor, students

Twitter connects stats instructor, students

Statistics Instructor Mary Wachter has found Twitter to be an effective and sometimes fun way to keep in touch with students.

It was her way of telling statistics students to enjoy the Labor Day weekend.

“We've learned that a Z-score < -3 or > +3 is considered an extreme outlier, but a weekend that = 3 days is considered an extreme delight!,” Instructor Mary Wachter tweeted late last week.

It was a message that her students have come to expect from Wachter, who has been at the forefront of using Twitter as a way to communicate with current and former students.

“The ways we communicate have changed so much since when I came to Pitt State in the late 1980s,” she said. “It used to be that if a student wanted to talk to their teachers, they had to drop by their offices and hope they were there. Now, we have email and websites and social media, they’re all great tools for increasing the contact with students.”

Wachter set up the Twitter account @StatChat320 for her statistic classes in the Kelce College of Business as a way of sharing relevant information and announcements, while also providing an outlet for direct communication.

And also a few laughs.

“Welcome back Gorillas! Here's to a first week that is WAY above average, statistically speaking!,” she tweeted on the first day of thefall semester.

On April 1, Wachter took to Twitter to have a little fun.

“No Final Project required for the semester. #aprilfools,” she tweeted.

Wachter said the “less formal” environment on social media makes for an effective and fun way to reaching students.

“I think students often respond better to less formal communication,” she said. “There is a line there, of course, and one must always remain professional. But social media does give you a chance to relax a bit and have a little fun in the ways that you communicate.”

It’s also a way, she said, to show her students how what they learn in class relates to current events.

“How's your NCAA tourney bracket looking? Odds of a perfect bracket: 1 in 9.2 quintillion, that's 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to be exact!,” she tweeted during March Madness 2015.

The idea, she said, is to show that stats are everywhere.

“I like to tweet about current events in a way that relates to statistics and draw that connection from our classroom to the real world,” she said.

And sometimes she tweets just to show she cares.

“Hey Data Ninjas! We survived the first week! Enjoy your weekend and give your brains a rest!”

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