Making Statistics Relevant for Students

By Asal Aslemand (University of Toronto, Mississauga Campus)


With the shift to remote learning during the pandemic, it has been especially more meaningful to make statistics teaching and learning relevant for students. In an undergraduate course for non-statistics majors, a course project provided students with an opportunity to work in small groups with their peers. Students in small groups were required to select an article from Statistics Canada’s publication on Canadian’s COVID-19 perspectives, summarize important findings from their selected article, and create two survey questions, inspired by their article, that they would afterwards anonymously ask their peers in the course. Based on the statistical methods students learned how to run in the course, they were asked to investigate their statistical questions using R, write a report, and create a video presentation to communicate important findings to wider audience (students in the same class). Students appreciated how the course project was scaffolded throughout the term, and how they were supported by the teaching team and their peers. They found the course project useful for gaining more practical and technical skills in terms of how to conduct statistical analysis using R. Moreover, they valued applying the statistical ideas they learned in the course in relevant topics and in practical ways.