Teaching Psychology Statistics is daunting. It is effectively an applied mathematics course focused a single topic, psychology. The school's data has shown that when students come to EMCC underprepared, it is likely to be in mathematics. Thus, student success in math often requires intense support- emotional and intellectual- by both peers and instructors: guided practice, and lots of immediate feedback on the process of turning a large set of numbers into a meaningful narrative. Though all of these are a challenge for online instruction, I chose to focus on the last issue: helping students get rapid, automatic feedback using a statistics software tool for active learning. To accomplish this goal, I will be creating screencasts and exercises demonstrating the use of StatCrunch for all activities. I will be measuring student success in two ways: 1) Course retention relative to face-to-face courses, and 2) graded performance, which include both pre-tests and post-tests of the material.
Bill, What a great idea to add the screencases and excercises. I look forward to seeing your results.
Thank you for the comments and support Olga! As you know, you are a very supportive colleague!
Interesting . . . it certainly looks as if you will be increasing your "online presence." I will be interested to see you results, but can predict they will be very positive!
This really is more a first-draft creating a base-line for performance. Much of what I'm doing is relying on publisher's tools and then moving from there. Impressionistically, I'm seeing in October that the system is actually quite powerful: adaptive learning, the support tools, and my part in creating the pacing I've built in seem to be working well. The problem I'm seeing with the tools I've used is less with StatCrunch, but one constantly haunting mathematics/statistics: students are- with study and support- mastering the process of computation- but they don't have the visual, geometric beauty of what the calculations are representing in the abstract, conceptual deep structure. (However, I think a solution can be constructed. That may be an idea for another CATS!) Thanks for the support, Pete!
Bill, I appreciate your focus on providing students more immediate feedback on their work. I'm sure you are familiar with the research on timely feedback to student learning. I'm curious to understand more the mechanism you'll use for providing this feedback- does statcruch provide this feedback, or is this measured by your post-tests?
Though the research shows that rapid professor feedback is a critical role in student success (hypothetically for two reasons: rapid feedback allows for rapid cause-effect linkages, and rapid feedback also supports a student sense of social concern), neither is in play here. In using Statscrunch I'm more on the gamification model in which modes of feedback are automatically built in. In the course I am teaching, answers are computed and broken into steps. The feedback is immediate in that either the calculations are correct or not.Students learn from their own manipulations. Separate from the CATS is that I do strive to provide <1 day turn around on answers or even creating learning tools when students turn to me for solutions. Being a devotee of autonomous learning, I'm building in the feedback and sticking to one of my favorite Robert Fripp aphorisms: "Don't be helpful; be available". Thanks for the comment Erik!
Thanks, Bill, for sharing this. One of the greatest challenges that I have in the stats course is timely feedback. So, I'm curious to see if this rapid feedback could be integrated in the face to face course once you complete the loop or some type of hybrid between the online and face to face courses.
UI think that in class, we often provide this feedback rapidly. I think most of us teaching this course address student issues via office hours or beginning the class with questions, as well as answering emails. What I find particularly challenging is trying to implement success strategies on-line that we do in class. The challenge in my CATS was to be able to provide a method of feedback that caputred some of the rapid "feedback" we implicitly deliver in class. Interestingly, the challenge of making feedback more explicit on-line may indeed impact how I deliver feedback in the classroom. (e.g., making screencasts available to students even in face-to-face situations so that they can replay the offered solutions as often as needed)