Statistics course reactions

An end of term survey in MS 150 Statistics surveyed 25 students in areas such as their favorite and least favorite presentations, attitude towards statistics, textbook usage, activities that contributed to learning, and obstacles to learning.

April presenting basic statistics

The course included seven data exploration based presentations during the term. The first presentation occurs on zero knowledge the first week of class and asks the students to explore statistics surrounding M&M candies. The seven presentations were:

  1. Basic statistics: Mars and Murrie MMs
  2. Basic statistics plus charts: Heart rates, health, and the impact of exercise
  3. Regressions: Bouncing super balls and the correlation of bounce height to drop height
  4. Inferential statistics: FiboBelly ratios hypothesis test
  5. Open exploration requiring basic statistics: Round island Ekiden relay run
  6. Open exploration requiring regression for a paired data: Carbon dioxide versus temperature on Pohnpei
  7. Open exploration requiring inferential statistics: FSM Family Health and Safety data on female experiences and attitudes with respect to violence against and control of women

The students were asked which presentations were their favorites and which were their least favorites. Students were able to select multiple presentations.

All of the presentations were liked and disliked. Perhaps the MMs presentation was better liked, the students each wound up with their own bag of MMs to eat. The Family Health presentation proved statistically difficult for the students which may have contributed to that presentation being the least favored presentation. That said, an almost equal number of students favored that presentation. Students were asked to comment on their favorite and least favorite presentations, those comments are included at the end of this report.

At term end students were asked what their attitude towards statistics was prior to taking the class. A second question asked what their attitude towards statistics is after having completed the course.
Prior to taking the course five students had a positive attitude, seventeen self-reported having a neutral attitude, and three reported a negative attitude towards statistics. At course end twenty-one students have a positive attitude and four report having a neutral attitude. Bearing in mind that few students in this course will go to study further statistics, that this is a single contact with the field, these results are quite encouraging. As an instructor in a field that I enjoy, I want my students to find enjoyment in the topic as well.

A survey of textbook usage spring 2017 indicated that of thirty students, twenty-nine referred to the online version of the textbook and one student reported using neither the hard copy nor online copy of the textbook. This fall all 25 respondents indicated that they read the textbook online, no student reported reading the hard copy of the textbook. All 25 students self-reported that they found the textbook to be helpful.

For an instructor, the information most useful to improving a course comes in the details from the students. Qualitative data provides the most insights. Students comments are reproduced as they wrote them.

When students were asked why they favored the presentations that they favored, they responded in roughly three broad ways: because the presentation was intrinsically interesting, because they understand and comprehended the presentation, or they found the presentation to be easy and fun.

Favored presentations: Reasons why that presentation was favored

Interesting content

  • Because i have the chance to learn about my normal as well as my abnormal heart beating rates.
  • It is interesting and surprising when I learn to calculate the ratio of my fibobelly. The measurement I consistently know is measuring the height of the whole body, from the feet to the head.
  • The reason as to why my favorite is the "Bouncing super balls and the correlation of bounce height to drop height", its because I learned that you can even find the simple difference in the smallest thing to no matter how figure of something can be. Bouncing ball data, its formula helps to determine the heights or the drops can be located at.
  • Because it makes me realize that Pompeian or Micronesian's too care for their health and not only the youth but i am also surprised that there are also old people joined the relay... and the results are good. size mwahu)
  • It was new to me in measuring bellybutton from both female and male, to find which is close or it is the Golden ratio. Its amazing to find what is the result.
  • well, after we count the M&M we ate it that is why...and also because i got to know the normal rate of a heart. how to calculate my own beating heart at resting and when i do exercise.
  • i like this presentation, because at first i thought that pohnpei i getting warmer every year, but yet i found out that the temperature here in pohnpei is not really changing
  • its not really my favorite but i like the way its discuss because its base on the FSM's people. how they live in everyday life.
  • because i get to learn how to measure and how important our fibobelly was.
  • This is my favorite presentation because it is challenging and also important to understand. This presentation helps me understand how scary the men are treating women in different states.
  • i really like the exploration, because it gives me the knowledge that do not abuse the women of your state

Comprehensible

  • because i understand and know what we were suppose to do. I even added a little bit of what i learned in science.
  • it was the easiest
  • because this was the one that i really understand how to do it!!
  • for the first time, i was able to include statistics when dealing with facts outside the classroom and fully understand it.
  • it gave me a broad idea and concept of statistics.
  • I believe I knew what I had to do and what kind of statistics I had to use. I felt confident in presenting because I strongly knew what i had to share or present to my fellow classmates.

Easy or fun

  • Because it was the first task that we accomplished and it felt good to get a sense of what statistics was about.
  • I like the survey statements
  • It was fun to present it
  • I get to demonstrate the bouncing of the ball from a certain heights and work it out!!!!!
  • I have never learned statistics so it is fun and challenging topic to learn
  • because its fun using the ball and also doing the statistics on it..
  • All the presentations were my favorite. It taught me the importance of presentations on a statistics perspective. In a way, it also helped shape the way I prioritize the things that I need to do from the things that I want to do.

Least favored presentations: Reasons why that presentation was not favored

Reasons for not favoring a presentation included disliking the topic, not understanding what to do, or finding that the task was difficult and hard.

Disliked the particular topic
  • Because i could not believe what women around in Micronesian still thinks like this. i know it is because of the cultures, that they respect our Ancestors but i think its unfair to think like that anymore because before out ancestors don't drink alcohol and the other thinks that make them go crazy like in the present days.
  • because from what i learn someone with the number of golden ratio is perfect, or i got mistaken.and i don't think their is someone perfect other than god.
  • for me is not something really important to know about
  • i hate doing the hypothesis test
  • i once experience which state has the less and most sexual harassment and abuse in the states.
  • I understand that this is an important presentation, however it is not my favorite because it is difficult for me to explain during the time i was presenting. However, i am glad that i tried this presentation.
Incomprehensible
  • Because while working on this presentation im not really sure if im doing the right thing or not
  • i didn't understand most of the data exploration.
  • because my result was unusual
  • it was the easiest, but it was at the time i was still lost, so i couldn't make up for it.
  • I didn't really get how its appropriate statistics were to be fixed. It confuses me at some point.
  • I dont really get what we were supposed to do..
  • I did not prepare well for this presentation. I know I could have done better if I prepared on time. I should have asked more questions because I did not fully understand it.
Difficult, hard
  • it was difficult to find the answers
  • It was hard for me to interpret the data into statistical charts and graphs.
  • the first one, it was easy but since i just got into the class my mind was way way behind that i can not be able to did mine. the second one was giving me hard time to understand it and be able to fix my own.
  • Well, because at those times of Mars and Murrie MMs is in the very beginning of this class semester, so at those times, I just introduced myself to statistics, and it seems hard for me to do the assigned works.
  • that one was too specific. i felt like i was Frankenstein trying to prove false numbers.
  • it kind of hard to do it
  • this presentation is really hard for me.
  • sometimes its hard for me to count the numbers of bouncing that's why sometimes i have to try again.
Other
  • There are none of the open data exploration thats my least favorite, because with every open data exploration and presentation, I get to learn something from it. Some things that I wasn't aware of.
  • because I wasnt here to Present it...
  • This presentation is not my least favorite. Its just that the information that I put into this presentation could have been better. In other words, it wasn't my strongest presentation.
  • I hate presentation and speaking in public
Activity that most contributed to learning the material

Students were also asked which activity in the course most contributed to the their of the material. Some students cited the presentations, a few cited a particular in class exercise involving the distance flown by paper aircraft, other areas mentioned were the lectures, the book, and the use of technology.
  • Both lecture and reading the text book helped me in contributing most to my learning. I get lost sometimes when in the learning of new topics. But somehow I manage to understand. I am not a social person, so presentations is not my best friend.
  • Doing the presentations. Though i miss alot of times in standing infront of the students and deliver out my presentations but still it help me alot by doing some work. Somehow i'm not really sure if my works i've been doing are right but i did take chance to work on them and i like it. Whether i did right or wrong,i still like the part where i had to work.
  • FSM Health and Safety 
  • google sheets is as much helpful as i never knew.
  • i got the hang of doing the basic statistics. now i know all the formulas.
  • I would say that every activity that happened in the class contributes to my learning of statistic. I may be late or absent, but I tend to always have this positive attitude towards learning something new everyday. Every activity done, helped me in boosting my learning in statistic.
  • in class assignments
  • it would be the presentations I learned alot..
  • Only the ones i missed. Sometimes i came late and missed some lectures.
  • presentation, i have learned much in doing presentation
  • presenting because I can now present without the fear of stuttering!
  • The activity that contributed the most to my learning was Bouncing the Super Balls.
  • The activity that contributed the most to my learning was graphs or charts , basic statistics
  • The flying airplane activity.
  • The homework assignments assigned. The more practice done with the assignments assigned, the more I learned.
  • The last activities where we had to do everything on our own because it helped me take on the task of real statistics and also let me and my classmates help each other.
  • The last presentation
  • the paper plane
  • the throwing airplane and the presentations.
  • The whole concept of statistics. From the basics to the most extensive activities, they all contributed a lot to my learning.
  • walking around the building to find both resting and exercise heart rate
  • when we did the before and after heart beat test.
The biggest obstacle for me in my learning the material was...

In response to what was the biggest obstacle to learning the material, the responses varied widely. The two most frequent responses were a response of "nothing" and the presentation. Five students reported no obstacles to their learning. Five students reported that the presentations were an obstacle to learning. Of the five, three noted fear of presenting and shyness as factors. 
  • Carbon dioxide versus temperature in Pohnpei
  • doing the graphs and the box plot
  • fear of presentation!
  • Honestly the numbers(data) that was compiled would at first throw me off. But as time progressed, I learned that if I put in the time to lean the data and how it was taken, I could solve the problems.. with the instructor's guidance of course :-P
  • i was having hard time to do the statistic on my own
  • It was a hard time for me using only the computer to solve my stuffs which i haven't got my way around at that time.. later on, it was the easiest part of learning statistics.
  • Mostly the basic statistics gave me a hard time because of all the formulas.
  • none
  • none.
  • nothing
  • nothing big enough to be called an obstacle.
  • nothing...
  • now i know how find the difference between the data and the other stuff that involve in the mathematical course
  • Presentation was the biggest obstacle in learning, because even if I have in my mind what I wanted to share, I can't seem to fully express myself. I am not good in presentation, I get shy in presenting. But my partner in class helped me, to little by little to overcome that fear in standing in front of people, although I still have that fear.
  • Presentations! due to the fact that i always did my presentations without not even knowing if i'm on the track or not
  • reading, sometime i fail to understand
  • speaking in public
  • The biggest obstacle for me in learning statistic is that, at the beginning of the class. I wasn't sure or doesn't really get the idea in learning statistic. Basically it was new to me. The material that got some obstacle on is the "fail to reject hypothesis analysis, or reject the hypothesis analysis", it confuses me at some point, but I read and read all over again. I still get confuse but I will eventually learn it clearly from here on out to master it.
  • The biggest obstacle for me in my learning the material was the box plot and also its statistics such as the lower and upper bound.
  • the boxplot and the other
  • the obstacles i have was the formulas and the statistics itself sometimes got me lost.
  • There is no big obstacle. I just had to catch up with the others because joined the class later than anyone else did.

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