As a lecturer, Dr. Brigitte Baldi focuses on teaching undergraduate students to think critically about data using quantitative reasoning skills. “The ability to approach data methodically to reach appropriate and nuanced conclusions in context is incredibly important,” she says. Her students come from a wide range of majors, and many have never had any formal exposure to statistical thinking. She uses examples from current scientific studies and news reports to give students hands-on experience, showcase the relevance of statistics, and perhaps spark a continuing interest in the study of data science.
Quantitative reasoning skills need to be honed with ample hands-on practice. Dr. Baldi received the UCI Certificate for Engaged Instruction for extensive in-class group work that is supported with Learning Assistants and the formative use of a student response system. She recently developed an introductory statistics course with a hybrid online/in-person format with a UC Innovative Learning Technology Initiative grant. “The format provides both flexibility for students to learn concepts at their own pace and live instructor guidance and feedback during active class work.” The design also enables wider student access via cross-campus enrollment.
Dr. Baldi is also actively engaged in the development of educational material. She first produced ancillary material for a number of statistics textbooks and then worked with Professor David S. Moore to create The Practice of Statistics in the Life Sciences, a textbook aimed specifically at undergraduates majoring in biological science. “Teaching and writing are quite symbiotic,” she says. “Each new edition forces a full reexamination of pedagogical goals, informed by the statistics education community and my own teaching experience. This comprehensive process, in turn, makes me a better instructor.”