Tag Archives: statistics

Using Jing to Supplement SPSS Instruction

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...

Submitted by Ariella T

 

In this post, I am going to be discussing applications of Jing specifically as a supplementary tool for teaching SPSS in statistics courses and labs. Jing is a pretty neat tool for what it is: a free, no-frills way to do screen captures with and without voice recording. For purposes of making videos demonstrating SPSS processes based on my lectures and interactive activities, this is more than enough to minimize student confusion after lab.

Like I said before, the first thing about Jing is that it’s pretty uncomplicated. The U.I. is very easy to understand—which is important for TAs whose capacity to learn new things are compromised by the rest of the grad school gauntlet.

A caveat of the program is that there is a five-minute hard limit on recording time, but I haven’t really needed anything near that length. Chaining multiple short screen casts can also be an exercise in brevity, and who doesn’t like the opportunity to practice public speaking? This brings me to another limitation of the program: there’s no rewind. Make an error? Do it over. So, it’s important to make sure any distractors are silenced and program pop-ups don’t occur (students don’t need to know who is Skyping you or that Steam has an update). This detracts a bit from usability, especially if you’re a perfectionist about cursor movements. Otherwise, it’s not a huge issue if the screencasts aren’t too lengthy.

Another nice feature is that it can record sound (if you have a mic). I didn’t use this tool very much since speech is another thing I’d end up being a perfectionist about. However, it is an option. I’ve been thinking of leaving the mic on with background music, which is another sound option (by playing your music with the mic on–Jing doesn’t come with any music loops for the aspiring dubstep statistician).

For now, I’ve kept it as the native Flash file and link that is produced by default after saving a screencast. For the more tech savvy, you can bypass this and export the media file if you’d like to edit or upload it on other programs.

I’ve gotten good feedback from students about using it. It’s also nice to be able to direct questions to the links, instead of writing out steps in email, and is good for troubleshooting exactly where student or SPSS user confusion stems from. Overall, I’m pleased with it. Instructors needing the ability to edit or to do lengthier or more nuanced videos should look for its paid counterparts.

For now, I’ve kept it as the native Flash file and link that is produced by default after saving a screencast. For the more tech savvy, you can bypass this and export the media file if you’d like to edit or upload it on other programs.

I’ve gotten good feedback from students about using it. It’s also nice to be able to direct questions to the links, instead of writing out steps in email, and is good for troubleshooting exactly where student or SPSS user confusion stems from. Overall, I’m pleased with it. Instructors needing the ability to edit or to do lengthier or more nuanced videos should look for its paid counterparts.

The Flipped Class: A Method to Address the Challenges of an Undergraduate Statistics Course

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

Submitted by Julia Cox

Article Reference

Wilson, S. G. (2013). The flipped class: A method to address the challenges of an undergraduate statistics course. Teaching of Psychology, 40, 193-199.

Article DOI

10.1177/0098628313487461

Summary of Article

In many psychology departments, introductory statistics courses present a unique challenge for students and instructors alike. Students often enter the course with a wide range of interest and experience in the topic, and instructors often struggle to make content relevant and engaging for this audience. Another challenge for today’s instructors can be generational; previous scholarship (e.g., Taylor, 2010, 2011) has identified several recommendations for teaching today’s tech savvy college students (i.e., “Generation NeXt”), including connecting course materials to students’ future goals, increasing engagement and activity in the classroom, requiring preparation for and attendance to class, and relocating content learning outside of the classroom.  Given the surfeit of readily accessible knowledge (e.g., the internet), instructors’ energies may be best used teaching students how to contextualize and apply this newly acquired information. To address these concerns, the author describes her redesigned statistics course that incorporates the “flipped” classroom model.

Wilson’s (2013) flipped classroom was a substantial departure from her previous content-heavy statistics courses, as she implemented a number of structural changes. First, students completed quizzes on required readings to ensure that content learning was done outside the classroom. Internet resources were made available to support independent learning. Students were also assigned to “learning groups” for the semester, based on their major and interests. Group homework was assigned to promote collaboration and engagement with the material. In-class activities were increasingly focused on statistic’s relevance to individuals’ goals, as the instructor attempted to forge a connection between course material and experiences with students’ future careers. Substantial credit was given to in-class activities, providing an incentive for students to attend class.

Wilson (2013) evaluated the success of her redesigned course in several ways. First, students provided evaluations of new activities. Unsurprisingly, the reading quizzes were unpopular, but many of the in-class activities, group activities, and assignments designed to highlight the relevance of certain statistical concepts were rated as somewhat or very helpful. Ratings of the overall course were also obtained, and, when compared to course ratings from past years, students’ ratings of course and instructor quality were markedly higher. Further, student performance, as measured by final grades and performance on exams, was significantly higher in the flipped course. Although many of these new strategies were successful, some students perceived their increased personal responsibility negatively. Wilson (2013) goes on to discuss how it may be difficult to apply these strategies to larger statistics courses. Ultimately, the author presents several ideas that may help increase the effectiveness and palatability of undergraduate statistics courses.

Discussion Questions

  1. Wilson describes her redesigned course in some detail and, as with all things, some new strategies were received more warmly than others. How does her method compare to your own experience in undergraduate statistics? Graduate statistics? Are there some strategies that you might be able to incorporate in to your own statistics course, should you be inclined to teach one?
  2. Wilson’s statistics sections were limited to 25 people. How might this “flipped” class design work in a larger statistics course? Does the current lecture/lab structure at VCU facilitate some of these strategies?
  3. Wilson cited the different learning needs of “Generation NeXt” as part of her reason for redesigning the course. Arguably, access to knowledge has expanded considerably (e.g., the internet), making the application of that knowledge a more salient classroom exercise. What do you make of that? What other content may benefit from this course structure?