Asking students how to best teach statistics virtually: Results of focus group discussions

Fielder, Katherine, Krause, Amanda, Miller, Daniel, Suarez, Lidia, and Lin, Patrick (2022) Asking students how to best teach statistics virtually: Results of focus group discussions. In: [Presented at the STP Annual Conference on Teaching]. From: ACT 2022: STP Annual Conference on Teaching, 20-22 October 20252, Pittsburgh, PA, USA/Online.

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Improving students’ understanding of statistics hinges on using active learning methods, which increase levels of enjoyment and satisfaction and decrease failure rates (Freeman et al., 2014). However, the unique circumstances of COVID-19 have raised questions of best practices for blended and online learning. There now exists a growing necessity for innovative, virtual alternatives to in-person, laboratory activities (Dhawan, 2020). This poses a great challenge for teaching statistics; and research is desperately needed to ensure adequate preparation of the next generation of psychology researchers and practitioners.

The present study used focus groups (N = 13 participants, aged 21-58 [Mage = 35.79, SDage = 11.39], 64.3% female, 28.6% male, 7.1% gender fluid) to evaluate which characteristics of statistics learning activities in the virtual environment increase undergraduate psychology students’ (a) engagement, (b) satisfaction, and (c) knowledge of statistics. The focus group conversations were transcribed and analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. The findings indicate two main themes concerning why learning statistics online does not work and how to make teaching and learning statistics online work. Sub-themes concerning why it does not work focus on the social norms that prioritise time efficiency over engagement and interaction, how the immediacy of learning and engaging with an instructor is often lost virtually, as well as a lack of considerations pertaining to (a) the demands of the online environment and (b) the lives of externally enrolled students (e.g., families/work, time between subjects). Suggestions for how to make teaching and learning statistics online work for students centred on readily accessible content, SPSS program access, teaching delivery that is methodical and flexible, immediacy of instructor response, and prioritizing student-student and student-instructor connection. These findings illustrate key challenges specific to teaching and learning statistics virtually, with real implications for how to better design and implement related curriculum.

Item ID: 76630
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: teaching and learning; statistics; research methods; T&L; learning and teaching; emergency online learning; EOL; COVID19; COVID-19; tertiary psychology education; online; blended; tutorial; lecture
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2022 01:18
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology > 520102 Educational psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology @ 100%
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