The Active Learning Change Grant program is designed to encourage and support a broad-scale adoption of active learning approaches to promote a culture of active learning across UGA departments and programs. Active Learning Change Grants are intended to encourage systematic thinking and a collective effort from academic units (e.g., departments and interdisciplinary programs) to create learning environments conducive to student learning through implementing new teaching practices and/or initiatives.
This project aims to provide more effective learning experiences for students in all large-lecture formats of STAT 2000 “Introductory Statistics” via increased active participation in the learning process and increased prompt feedback on student learning. These changes to the course will be made by the team members through a backward design approach to course design, which will align course learning objectives, assessments, and instructional strategies with a focus on the skills students will need in their future endeavors.
The impact of these shifts will ultimately lead to higher retention of the course material by students and overall lower DFW rates for this course (which currently are around 11-12 percent). This course was chosen for a redesign due to its high-impact nature. Annually, STAT 2000 has an enrollment of more than 2,000 undergraduate students. Further, it serves as the gateway course for a B.S. in Statistics and for all non-majors seeking to satisfy their Area I and/or Area III sections of the General Education requirements.
The Statistics Change Grant Team
We appreciate the level of investment the department has made toward this change grant plan. The Statistics Change Grant team includes two instructors who have received Active Learning Leader Certificates, Drs. Maduranga Dassanayake and Abhyuday Mandal. The Statistics Change Grant team also includes a course coordinator, Dr. Nicholas Toebben, three additional faculty members, six graduate teaching assistants, and the Department Head for Statistics, Dr. TN Sriram.
The funding for the change grant team went to facilitate the salary supplements for faculty implementing the changes for STATS. However, the Statistics Department supported this change grant with an additional $47,200 for Teaching Assistants, software, meeting supplies, and publication fees.
This change grant project includes a robust assessment plan.
● Student Disciplinary Knowledge Indicators – The Department of Statistics plans to measure overall disciplinary knowledge (e.g., retention and other academic performance metrics) by assessing pre- and post-test content acquisition. These metrics will be compared to pre-design course levels. A particular focus will be on comparing pre- and post-redesign DFW rates. In addition to measuring pre- and post-design courses, this plan includes implementing active learning strategies initially in only a few course sections to allow for comparison between sections.
● Student Perspectives – This plan also includes incorporating Mid-Semester Formative Evaluations (MSFEs) in the courses implementing the course redesign. To assist with these MSFEs, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) will build capacity within Statistics to conduct and facilitate MSFEs for one another’s courses.
● Instructor Perspectives – The team will also collect surveys that will enable instructors to reflect on the perceived effectiveness of active learning strategies on student learning outcomes in their sections.