Are some counties in Illinois handling coronavirus (COVID-19) better than others? Can we find evidence of global warming in the patterns of melting lake ice in Russia? These are some of the topics that will be covered this fall in ECO 138: Economic Reasoning Using Statistics. The introductory statistics course taught by Dr. Eric Lenz has been modified to include real-world project data and analysis.

Lenz’ work was funded by a Teaching Innovations Grant provided by the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT), and with this funding he hired undergraduate student Anna Kraft to collaborate with other departments at Illinois State. Faculty in the College of Education, School of Biological Sciences, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and other units provided guidance and in some cases actual data for ECO 138 students. For instance, Dr. Rebekka Darner, an associate professor in Biological Sciences, suggested resources from Project EDDIE (Environmental Data-driven Inquiry & Exploration), a project funded in part by the National Science Foundation for which she is a co-principal investigator with Dr. Catherine O’Reilly.

The 10 projects created by Lenz and Kraft will provide ECO 138 students real-world experience with statistics and data analysis this fall. Lenz earned his Ph.D. in Economics at Southern Illinois University, has taught several courses in economics and international affairs at Texas A&M University, and will be teaching ECO 138 again in spring 2021.