I started teaching statistics courses in 2009 with Penn State’s continuing education. The courses were a mix of face-to-face and hybrid formats. In 2017, I had an opportunity to teach the completely online format of the course with World Campus.
Statistics Education, Teaching and Learning Online
I am an assistant teaching professor with the Penn State Department of Statistics. Along with teaching, I also serve as the instructional designer for the online courses in the department.
Teaching online provides the instructors the opportunity to make the students’ thinking ‘visible’. Online discussions are one area where you can 'hear' from all students. In the online discussion, students can post their original ideas without seeing what others have wrote. Online you can require all students to post their thoughts as opposed to just hearing from a few students in a live classroom. Seeing the students’ thinking and reasoning makes it easier to guide the class through remediation of common misconceptions or errors.
Being present. Instructor presence is extremely important to foster student engagement. Participating in discussions, providing assignment feedback, sharing statistical humor and news from outside of the class, as well as, encouraging discussion among the students are just a few ways I try to keep students engaged with the course.
Now is a great time to teach statistics! Data fluency and statistical literacy are two in demand workforce competencies. So, I think it’s important for engagement to connect the content to their everyday lives and careers.
Spacing and consistency! Most online courses follow some weekly cadence. Develop a schedule where you work on the course at intervals throughout the week (spacing). Try to be consistent and stick with it! By not cramming each lesson into one night, you may retain more, be able to ask questions, resolve technical issues in time, and hopefully not get overwhelmed.