Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Statistics through the Medium of Internet: What Students Think and Achieve

Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Statistics through the Medium of Internet: What Students Think and Achieve

Article excerpt

Abstract

The major aim of the present research was to compare expectations of students enrolled in the School of Education internet-based "Introduction to Statistics" course with those of students who participated in the School of Social Work traditional "Introduction to Statistics" course. . In addition students' performance, attitudes towards teaching and learning, and satisfaction after attending one semester in each course were assessed. Both courses were based on identical syllabi and content and with the only difference being the method of delivery

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Results indicate similar achievement levels of students who participated in internet-based and traditional lecture-based courses. Students who participated in the interact-based course had lower attitudinal levels on the research factors of "teaching and learning" and "satisfaction" than those who participated in the traditional lecture-based course in both "before" and "after" evaluations. However intra-group comparison for the students in the internet-based course indicated a significant increase in "after" attitudinal assessment.

Internet in Education

Radical improvements in learning and instruction have been made as a result of the advances achieved in three major areas: technology, measurement, and cognitive science (Bennett, 1999). Of the three, new technology has probably been the most influential in the short term. New technology has had the greatest influence because it is increasingly pervading our society. Billions of dollars are being invested annually to create and make commonplace powerful, general technologies for commerce, communications, entertainment, and education. Due to their generality, these technologies can also be used to improve learning and instruction (Wideman and Owston, 1999).

Bennett (2001) described the Internet as an interactive, switched, networked, and standards-based communication medium that has contributed significantly to many areas of endeavor and particularly to the learning and instructional processes.

* Interactive means that we can present a task to a student at the school or university level and quickly respond to that student's actions and assist the student when help is called for.

* Switched means that we can engage in different interactions with different students simultaneously. In combination, these two characteristics (interactive and switched) make for individualized learning and instruction.

* Broadband means that those interactions can contain lots of information. For learning and instruction, that information could include audio, video, and animation.

* Networked indicates that everything is linked. This linkage means that universities, schools, resource centers, teachers and students are tied together electronically. That electronic connection can allow for enormous efficiencies.

* Standards-based means that the network runs according to a set of conventional rules that all participants follow. That fact permits both the easy interchange of data and access from a wide variety of computing platforms, as long as the software running on those platforms (e.g., Internet browsers) adheres to those rules too.

As an embodiment of these abovementioned characteristics the Interact provides the potential to deliver efficiently and on a mass scale individualized, highly engaging learning and instructional content to almost any desktop and make information available to the teacher and student anytime day or night. Thus, the very essence of Internet is its efficiency, effectiveness, and its facilitating qualities that promise a long-awaited educational breakthrough at all educational levels.

The Internet at the University Level

Increasingly more university courses are being delivered to students through the medium of Internet (Wideman and Owston, 1999). Both university professors and students increasingly utilize the new medium to increase meaningful learning based on the use of online audio-visual material, databases, simulations and tutored exercises (Fabos and Young. …

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