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Natallia Katenka, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Mathematics and Statistics Boston University Third Annual Instructional Innovation.

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Presentation on theme: "Natallia Katenka, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Mathematics and Statistics Boston University Third Annual Instructional Innovation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Natallia Katenka, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Mathematics and Statistics Boston University Third Annual Instructional Innovation Conference 2011 “From Introductory Statistics to Real-Life Projects: Can we prepare our students?”

2 Motivation Why do students take introductory statistical courses? How can we revive students’ interest in the subject and motivate them to learn? How can we make the teaching-learning statistics more effective and enjoyable? And how can we establish connection between a teacher and students in a large auditorium (>100) of introductory course?

3 Group Project: Goals To motivate students in the subject (Stats). To show relevance of the statistical concepts in every-day life. To give students opportunity to express their opinion in the context of problems reflected by their own interests. To establish a closer link between students in class, as well as a link between students and a teacher.

4 Group Project: Steps For Students: For Instructor: 1. Study Design. 2. Data Collection. 3. Data Analysis. 4. Final Report. 5. In-class Presentation. 1. Project Activity Planning 2. Progress Monitoring 3. Feedback 4. Project Evaluation 5. Students Feedback

5 Forming Groups 1. Minimum and Maximum number of students per group. 3 – 5 students per group (125 students ~ 30 groups ) 2. How students are assigned (re-assigned) to each group. 1. Random - form groups during Discussion 1 => choice of group members is essentially random. - Student drop/join class later => assignment is on a person-by-person basis. 2. Semi-Random based on Homophily - form groups later in the semester => students get chance to know each other and join groups by interests. 3. Assigned based on Performance – form groups by mixing students with high and low scores (e.g., on Midterm 1).

6 1. Project Activity Planning Structure of the project including tasks that students need to complete. Will students choose the topic of their project or it will be assigned? Do students have to use existing data sets or collect their own data? What types of analysis has to be performed? What type of reporting will be expected? Project time line. How to distribute project tasks through semester so students have enough knowledge and enough time to complete them?

7 1. Project Activity Planning Example: 1. Introduce Group Project Activity during Lecture Form Groups and choose Topic during Discussion Design Study (Step 1) and Collect Data (Step 2) after Midterm 1 (data collection and descriptive concepts introduced). 4. Analyze Data (Step 3) after Midterm 2 (main testing procedures covered). 5. Submit Final Report (one per group) and make In-class Presentation (Steps 4 and 5) during the last Discussion.

8 2. Progress Monitoring and 3. Feedback Guide students behind the scenes. Review initial students ideas and help with formulation and choice of the topic. Lead student step-by-step through the process. Introduce each step in Lectures/Discussions. Perform a mid-step evaluation. Assign Steps as homework. Provide appropriate feedback. Provide comments/suggestions.

9 4. Project Evaluation Prior Considerations: Value of Group Project should be sufficient to motivate students to complete it. Contribution of each student in a group, unfortunately, is not equal. Evaluation: 1. Evaluation of Project Steps. 2. Final Group Project Evaluation 3. Individual Contribution Evaluation. 4. Peer Contribution Evaluation. 5. (Optional) In-class Voting for the Best Project

10 5. Student Feedback Collected student feedback about the project using: Anonymous on-line surveys. Anonymous paper surveys. Individual and Peer Contribution Evaluation Forms. When: After each or selected Steps. At the end of Group Project Activity.

11 5. Student Feedback Some Positive Comments: Project activity was educational and entertaining for most students. Working on group projects was interesting experience applicable to every-day life. Students liked collecting their own data and conducting their own study. Many found new friends. Complains and Suggestions: To have examples/templates of the final report and presentations. Some would like to complete individual projects. Some were concerned with unequal workload distribution among group members.

12 Step 1: Study Design 1. Choose Group Member Names 2. Define question of interest (topic). 3. Describe target population. 4. Describe response variable (quantitative or categorical), explanatory variable (categorical), possible confounding variables. 5. Identify Data Collection Method and Potential Issues. 6. State Hypothesis (in words).

13 Step 1: Study Design (Topics) The most inspiring topics are chosen by students: Fact or Fiction? --- Do freshmen college men gain more weight on average as compared to freshmen college women? Is there a relationship between alcohol consumption and weight gain for college freshmen? Is there a relationship between regular TV watching and grades? The Lair of Evil: Is Starbucks Really More Expensive than Dunkin Donuts? Payers vs. Moochers: who upgrades their cell-phones more often? Other topics from the Fall 2010 were about BU student studying/eating/dating preferences, and sleeping/smoking/exercising habits.

14 Step 2: Data Collection Students designed survey (or other strategy) taking into consideration: target population, variables of interest, confounding variables, sample size, and issues like bias and the welfare of surveyed subjects. Students surveyed people on the streets, in cafeterias, in dorms, or in dining halls. anonymous. All responses were anonymous.

15 Step 2: Data Collection Example of Disclaimer about Group Project: The information you provide today will help us complete our group project for MA 115 Statistics I class. Any data collected will be kept anonymous. It will be used for class only and is not intended for publication. Thank you for your

16 Student Feedback on Data Collection: Example of On-Line Survey

17 Example of On-Line Survey

18

19 Other Questions: 2. How many answers/observations did you (personally) collect? (~ 20) 3. On average, how long (in hours) did it take you to collect the data? (~1- 2hours) 6. Please provide any additional comments/suggestions/concerns about the data collection process and/or group project activity in general.

20 Step 3: Data Analysis Data Analysis includes main concepts learned in class: Descriptive Numerical and Graphical Summaries. Two-Sample Tests for Difference in Proportions, Mean Difference, or Difference in Means. Corresponding Confidence Intervals. Additional research component: Short description of potential future directions of their study. (Optional) Analysis using more complicated methods (ANOVA, Regression, etc.).

21 Step 4: Final Report Final Report (one per group) includes 4 sections: 1. Introduction (0.5 page) 2. Methods ( page) 3. Data Analysis and Results (2 -3 pages) 4. Future Research Directions (0.5 page) Individual Contribution Description (0.5 page). (Optional) Peer Contribution Form.

22 Step 5: In-Class Presentation Recommended Group Project Presentation Guidelines “ Prepare a 8-10 minute Presentation that includes at least 1 slide on: Your question of interest, including your hypothesis and any relevant background. A description of your data. The methods used to analyze the data. The results of your analysis. Your conclusions. Any cautions and/or suggestions for future research. Not every member must speak during this presentation. The best project will be awarded (possibility to present in lecture and extra points). “

23 Who Exercises More at BU? EAST VS. WEST

24 Conclusions Group Project Activity: Allows students to take part in the full statistical process. Gives opportunity to apply concepts learned in class to real-life data. Provides with experience working collaboratively on statistical problems. Helps to establish a closer teacher-student link over the semester. Requires from instructor careful detailed planning and monitoring.

25 Questions? Comments? THANK YOU!


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