Community and state college outreach

We are honored and delighted that our textbook, OpenIntro Statistics, has been adopted as a primary or supplemental text at top research universities (Harvard, Princeton, Duke, and U.Maryland are a few that come to mind) around the country. While this is great news, we’d like to respond to a piece of feedback we received during our recent outreach to community colleges and other teaching-focused schools: the current roster of schools using OpenIntro Statistics has contributed to the misconception that our book is geared solely towards a niche audience of students at top research universities. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

OpenIntro was started when we were students, and that gives us a different take on things. We believe it is possible, and important, to deliver top quality educational tools to everybody who wants them. Our book, website, labs, quizzes, and other resources are available for free, because we want to help people for whom the cost of educational materials is a burden. This makes cost-sensitive students, especially those of community and state colleges, a key audience for us.

From a stylistic perspective, while the textbook is thorough and rigorous, it was also written to make statistics accessible to students who struggle with quantitative subjects. There has been a steady flow of feedback from students who picked up our book on a whim after struggling with a concept presented in their current text or elsewhere on the web. They tell us how happy they are with the simplicity and clarity of how topics were introduced and explained, and we are thrilled to get these reports. This book was written based on our experience teaching and tutoring people of all ages, backgrounds, and enthusiasm levels with the precise goal of being accessible to everybody, especially people for whom statistics doesn’t come easily.

So, in response to recent feedback, we say Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, and

  • Teachers: We understand that jumping to a new textbook is a big leap in confidence. If this makes you nervous (e.g. you are worried your students won’t like the book), OpenIntro Statistics is the perfect textbook to give a try-out. The book is free to download and cheap to buy, so use the book as a supplement and let your students know you are thinking about a switch. Then ask students for their feedback throughout the course. If they like the old textbook better, no harm done — go back to the old text (we also hope you will let us know how we can improve, since we are here to create products that best serve you and your students!). But if the students like OpenIntro Statistics better, then you have the opportunity to switch over without fear. This is one of the many great features of free and open source resources.
  • If you are a student, try using OpenIntro Statistics as a companion for your class. If you find the book useful, let your teacher know (in a friendly “this was a great resource that I found very useful and you might want to check out for future classes” way, i.e. please don’t be demanding of teachers on this topic since switching textbooks is no small amount of work for teachers). If you don’t like some parts of the book or have suggestions, we’d love to hear from you. Our goal is to maximize the value of students’ eduction, and we want to learn how to improve.

Always Yours,
OpenIntro

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