Ent 5920, Spatial & Temporal Analysis

Frequently Asked Questions

I tried to register but the system says I need a permission number. Mrph. Where I do I get one?

Contact me and I will send you one.

What are your credentials for teaching this?

I have a PhD in entomology and an MS in applied statistics of biological systems (biometry). As such, I tend to wear two hats. I was in graduate school once, and I understand the fear of statistics. I've been there. But, I also understand its power, when used correctly, and would like to share that with you.

Who is the target audience?

Primarily graduate students, although advanced undergraduates conducting thesis research or considering graduate school may also find this course useful. Previous participants at my last university came from forestry, biology, geography, computer science, and other fields.

I took statistics once. I didn't like it (and am too ashamed to confide this to anyone). Should I be afraid of this course?

Perhaps, but I hope that enthusiasm shortly displaces fear. Do you enjoy your thesis research? You may find yourself excited at how stastical tools, when used properly, uncover all sorts of nifty things you didn't know existed in your data!

Is there a textbook?

Not at this point. Some ecological-statistical texts are treatises containing multiple techniques with little proper guidance. Others may tend toward an instruction manual demonstrating capacities of one particular software. Many texts in spatial (or temporal) statistics focus on one subfield - not the broad overview I intend. In practice, statisticians use a library of texts depending on the project. I will likely lecture from notes and chalkboard and share my (biased) evaluations of a variety of books that you may choose to buy or not buy.

What software will the course use?

R, which is the standard in statistical software and computing. Developed by the statistics community, it is free and open source, so you will never need other software as you progress through your research career. I realize that it has a high learning curve for non-statisticians, so I spend a lot of time up front helping smooth out the bumps. Most importantly, I endeavor to teach concepts, so that following the course you will have the skills to use any software package.

Will the course be fun?

Yes. Statistics first thing in the morning with a dozen of your closest friends is always fun.

Previous Students Comments

Sample comments from students in the last iteration of this course (2008):

  • Very fun and information-packed course. Brian taught this class in an entertaining yet very simple way that made it fun while learning a lot! Overall, I am amazed at how much I learned in this class!

  • Excellent. Very useful! I would recommend it to others

  • Class was fun, relaxed, but efficient... broke down concepts well and clarified when needed

  • Great job! You make stats fun! I really found the explanations and notes simple to follow and understand. I like that the focus was on application and not necessarily theory. Very helpful for future data analysis. A well-condensed course of valuable tools.

  • Great job at making information easy to understand. I have had other statistics professors and never learned so much. Very good course. The material presented is very important for the development of my research.

  • Brian was great. Helpful in answering questions to help my understanding of the material and very funny. I think the lab component was most useful in helping my understanding of concepts.