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This Book is Junk
on June 30, 2015
Let me preface this by saying I'm taking this class as someone who already holds a Bachelor's degree and is working full time. I actually really like statistics. I'm not just complaining because I'm an undergrad who hates stats out of laziness/why do I need this/math averion.
This book is just plain dreadful. All of the concepts contained inside of it can be found online for free and explained more clearly and thoroughly. It often seems as though the author is afraid to give an actual definition and you're left to infer the meanings of terms from his half-baked examples. This book is 900 pages long, but you can read through entire chapters in half an hour because of all the filler, strategic typesetting, and superfluous graphical elements. I often find myself searching the web for clearer, more helpful exposition and examples of the topics covered in the text. Maybe that's what this book is trying to teach me?
And then there's the software. One the one hand, it's great that the software allows you to check your answers before you submit them. This allows you to work out concepts you may be missing without anxiety about the being wrong. But on the other hand, the quality of the software is terrible. Educational software developers don't seem to be aware that it's 2015 and are designing applets and websites based on technology and paradigms that are a decade (or more) old. The software does not really give you any meaningful functionality that a (admittedly outdated, yet ubiquitous) platform like Blackboard can't without a little ingenuity on the instructor's part.
Instructors, I implore you, take a little time out and design a course around the burgeoning mass of quality content available to students for free. It's absolutely unconscionable that students are paying upwards of $300 for low quality educational products like this, especially in this day and age. Every time a professor in this country assigns this book and the accompanying software to a single one of their auditorium-sized Stats classes, they are putting $20,000-$30,000 dollars into the hands of a company that is failing to innovate and instead is hocking a massively overpriced, substandard product to debt-strapped students who don't have the ability to choose.