eCOTS 2012 - Virtual Poster #9

"Making Statistics Read-ble and Vizi-ble"
with Rebecca L Pierce and Robin Rufatto, Ball State University

Hosted by: Leigh Slauson, Capital University

For the last fifteen years or so, the teaching of statistics has increasingly emphasized the understanding of concepts and methods. David Moore (1997) suggested "the most effective learning takes place when content, pedagogy and technology reinforce each other in a balanced manner". In recent times, many new approaches for students to learn statistics have been developed and placed on the college scene. Every year new materials/textbooks for introductory statistics courses are being promoted by publishers. What's more the high visibility of the importance of statistics as a life skill has meant other mathematics classes are incorporating statistics as a major portion of a standard basic math course often required for students who are not majoring in a science related field. One such course is titled "Mathematics and its Applications" at Ball State University. Two professors participating in a Ball State University pilot study program will describe their experiences with e-textbooks and an interactive video tool. The intent of the program is to reduce the cost of attending college for students and give the digital natives an alternative way to access course materials. By utilizing cloud technologies and social learning environments, the university seeks to provide pedagogically sound digital education at an affordable price. Students and faculty participating in the pilot program will evaluate the technologies based on the following criteria, among others, ease of access, tools such as annotations, highlighting, etc. to assist in studying, and social bookmarking/annotating and other crowd based study aids. Two e-textbook readers are being evaluated the Nook study platform from Barnes & Noble and a reader from Courseload Inc. In addition, the study includes using an interactive video tool called Vizi, which introduces students to the basic ideas of statistics. There are some short lectures, interactive exercises on which the students get immediate feedback as well as exercises that students will submit for grading electronically. A benefit of using Vizi over other online tools is that students can easily click their way forward and backward through each lesson. Thus, students don't have to listen to the entire lesson to get the information that they missed. There are also "satellites", which are not essential to the lesson, that students can access. Vizi is not meant to replace the classroom experience or a textbook. It is a partner for both faculty and students. This poster will describe the first time experiences using an e-book reader, Courseload, and the interactive video tool called Vizi. A short demonstration of each new technology and student reactions will be described. References: Moore, D. S. (1997). New pedagogy and new content: the case of statistics (with discussion). International Statistical Review, 65, 123-137.

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Camille Fairbourn:

The ViziSwap software is really impressive. I look forward to its launch this fall. Thanks for sharing!

Rebecca Pierce:

Camille, thanks very much for your comment. ViziSwap has great potential for use in many classes. We did not mention that it will have other topics typically covered in a liberal arts mathematics books.