By Ginger Rowell, Lisa Green, Scott McDaniel, Nancy McCormick, and Jeremy Strayer (Middle Tennessee State University)
Middle Tennessee State University statistics education faculty have developed and tested a package of student and teacher materials designed to help instructors effectively use active learning to teach important concepts in introductory statistics. Based on the GAISE recommendations and literature on active learning, the instructional goals for using these materials are for students to be engaged in statistical decision-making, to ask statistical questions of one another, and to discuss and resolve their learning difficulties. Each in-class activity includes a corresponding out-of-class (homework) assignment that is an on-line video with an embedded quiz to ensure students have the needed background knowledge and/or to reinforce key concepts associated with the in-class activities. The activities have been combined with daily, short “warm-ups” for non-activity days to help students remember key components needed for the lecture on that day or to help students build connections between concepts. All of these activities are presented in a small workbook that students use each class period.
The corresponding instructor materials include the traditional ancillary materials such as student handouts, objectives, directions, and a solutions guide. Moreover, instructors are also provided with an example script for use during the in-class activity, a video of an experienced professor completing the activity with a class, and conceptual assessment questions with solutions. The additional instructor materials are intended to make implementing the activities easier for a teacher who is new to using active learning and/or new to teaching statistics. These modules are designed to supplement, not replace, the introductory statistics curriculum.
These materials are the basis for a successful course redesign at the project team’s institution to transition the course from being lecture-based to a student engaged approach. The materials were tested in introductory statistics courses which typically have 15 to 30 students. This algebra-based course provides general education credit and is taken by a wide range of non-STEM majors. The MTStatPAL materials have been tested in a class of 100 students and were successful with only slight modifications. Additionally, the materials have also been tested at a two-year institution and were are appropriate for this audience as well. The instructors who have used the materials range in experience from tenured statistics faculty to graduate assistants to mathematics faculty with little experience with statistics.
This “poster” not only show results from the class testing but also provides examples of the student and the instructor materials. All of the materials are freely available on the MTStatPAL website (mtstatpal.com). The website presents each full-class activity, warm-up, and homework video/quiz embedded in a suggested calendar as a guide for a possible timeline for using the materials. The website also has a teacher page with instructional materials including (password protected) answer keys.