Tag Archives: content

126 – Using a teacher-generated website (wiki) to support the learning of statistics – Diarmuid Verrier

Strand: The technology enhanced course (or, supporting students)

Anticipated outcomes:  Attendees should leave with an appreciation of the value of wikis for teaching.  Personally, I would like to get a sense of whether attendees consider this resource something that could potentially be used across multiple courses in the university or whether it is necessarily limited to the one for which it was created.

Session outline (or abstract):

It is now beyond question that technology and new media can support the process of learning and teaching. The subject of statistics may have particularly benefitted from this over the last 20 years with the growth and current ubiquity of computer programs designed to perform complex statistical calculations and to provide output describing the results of those calculations.  Nonetheless, statistics remains a highly complex subject.  The need for a sophisticated conceptual understanding of why a particular method should be chosen remains, and there are now additional challenges in terms of interpreting statistical output.  Further, while there is much consensus about the way statistics should be carried out and reported, cultural and discipline-specific differences remain.  There is a plethora of information out there, the vast majority of which is not relevant, and some of which is contrary to the cultural norms within the department.  In order to provide an easily accessible source of information that avoids these problems, we created a parsimonious wiki-style website for an introductory research methods and statistics module taken by first-year psychology students — essentially a resource for students analogous to a module-bespoke hyperlinked online textbook. It is intended to encompass what students need to know and no more (core concepts, basic theory, and stripped down procedures).  The vast majority of questions students ask in class can be answered by directed them to the website.  Thus, this system scaffolds students towards becoming autonomous learners who work to solve their own problems rather than relying on an external authority.  Students can then ‘graduate’ from this resource and engage with more sophisticated and detailed textbooks, articles, etc. that might otherwise have been experienced as overwhelming.  Although students cannot edit it, the website is easily malleable, and we can consider whether to add information if a student’s query goes beyond its current content.  This paper will evaluate how successful the site has been and will discuss some of its strengths as well as challenges we have encountered in creating and using it.  The possibility of using this resource (or one like it) across multiple courses will also be mooted.

Session activities for engagement: A hands on demonstration of the website

References: None

Possible thunderstorm session questions:

To what extent can such a resource truly be said to support the development of student autonomy?

To what extent would it be possible (or desirable) to share this resource within the university or beyond (i.e., as an open educational resource)?

Click to view presentation:  http://prezi.com/mkzxjcvbq-fp/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy