Groundhog Day

I had my elementary statistics students recall the movie Groundhog Day as part of  their  introduction to the concept of sampling distributions.  I gave them my version.  Each day Bill Murray would get up and take a sample,  calculate the mean, add the new data point to a frequency table and then go to sleep.  After a while, many many days, the normal distribution of the sample mean would emerge.  Understanding sampling distributions is difficult for students.  The reference to Groundhog Day may have helped a few of them.

Speaking of Groundhog Day, this weekend I had a sudden longing to be Bill Murray.  I found this site with 350 free online college courses – so many interesting topics and great professors.  I clicked on a lecture in Benedict Gross’s abstract algebra class and lost myself for an hour.  There is not enough time in the course of one human lifespan to study all the interesting stuff that the universe has thrown our way.   Why did Bill ever come back to the real world?


About jrh794

I am a sixty-five year old math instructor at Southern Oregon University. I taught at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed California for twenty-six years. Prior to that I worked as a computer programmer, carpenter and in various other jobs. I graduated from Rice University in 1967 and have a MS in Operations Research from Stanford. In the past I have hand-built a stone house and taken long solo bicycle tours. Now I ride my mountain bike and play golf for recreation.
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One Response to Groundhog Day

  1. Nick says:

    Simon Gallagher has suggested how long Bill Murray might have spent in Punxsutawney, and by his reckoning, you should be fine at 350 online courses (assuming you take 3 per term including Summer).

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