Tools for the advancement of undergraduate statistics education
Andrew Alan Schaffner, University of Washington, United States
University of Washington . Awarded
To keep pace with advances in applied statistics and to maintain literate consumers of quantitative analyses, statistics educators stress the need for change in the classroom (Cobb, 1992; Garfield, 1993, 1995; Moore, 1991a; Snee, 1993; Steinhorst and Keeler, 1995). These authors stress a more concept oriented undergraduate introductory statistics course which emphasizes true understanding over mechanical skills. Drawing on recent educational research, this dissertation attempts to realize this vision by developing tools and pedagogy to assist statistics instructors. This dissertation describes statistical facets, pieces of statistical understanding that are building blocks of knowledge, and discusses DIANA, a World-Wide Web tool for diagnosing facets. Further, I show how facets may be incorporated into course design through the development of benchmark lessons based on the principles of collaborative learning (diSessa and Minstrell, 1995; Cohen, 1994; Reynolds et al., 1995; Bruer, 1993; von Glasersfeld, 1991) and activity based courses (Jones, 1991; Yackel, Cobb and Wood, 1991). To support benchmark lessons and collaborative learning in large classes I describe Virtual Benchmark Instruction, benchmark lessons which take place on a structured hypertext bulletin board using the technology of the World-Wide Web. Finally, I present randomized experiments which suggest that these educational developments are effective in a university introductory statistics course.
Schaffner, A.A. Tools for the advancement of undergraduate statistics education. Ph.D. thesis, University of Washington.
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