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Have you been in situations where your students lack knowledge on how to present and analyze data but your course contents are so packed that there’s no extra time to teach or elaborate further on how to use statistical tools? Yet, data analysis skills should not be overlooked, as it plays an important role across many disciplines.

The case of SCNC1111
The Science Foundation Course SCNC1111 Scientific Method and Reasoning encountered this situation. As part of their group project, the students of SCNC1111 have to make their own investigations into how Mathematics and Statistics can be or have been applied to daily life and scientific inquiry. Over the past years, the teaching team observed that while most students were good at data collection, some of them seemed to be at a loss on what to do with the data: What can the data help us to do?

Seeing that some students lack proper training in handling, interpreting or analyzing data, the SCNC1111 teaching team found it essential to fill the gap:

“As there is not enough time to cover all these in class time, [we] took the initiative to produce videos to introduce data analysis in a convenient and low-cost way. The animations in the videos can help to vividly illustrate the concerned points, and the University can keep a database of resources for students to use at their convenience.” – Dr. Eddy Lam, Dr. Rachel Lui and Dr. William Cheung, SCNC1111 Course instructors

As a result, several useful and efficient instructional videos have been developed on how to use free online resources to plot nice graphs and do basic statistical analysis. Students’ skills and learning experience can both be enhanced. With the hope to incorporate students into the process of teaching, the SCNC1111 teaching team has previously recruited senior undergraduates as Senior Tutors for the course and one of the Senior Tutors, Mr. Dag Wong, was in charge of the video production. The team believes that “students can be our resourceful partner in developing high quality teaching materials and videos.”

Interdisciplinary resource-sharing
These videos can prove to be useful not only in science, but also in different disciplines such as economics, psychology, engineering, sociology, to name a few. In the long run, such productions can initiate synergy among different faculties in developing and sharing educational resources in common areas of inquiry. As students are expected to learn a wide spectrum of skills, creation and utilization of interdisciplinary materials will be highly beneficial.

Here are some typical data analysis questions asked by students across the campus, to which the SCNC1111 team has responded through the videos. Please feel free to share these links with your students!

What if I have an equation and I simply want to plot a nice-looking graph?

What if I have gathered some data and I wonder if there is any relationship between them?

How does regression work?

How does linear regression work with excel?

Let this be a start to knowledge sharing across disciplines!
Contact us if you are interested to learn more.

Creating online videos is easier than you think, even if you are no tech guru. With a graphing tablet, a microphone and a screen capture software, you can create DIY videos efficiently. In the Spring 2016 semester, Dr. Rachel K.W. Lui, Dr. K.F. Lam, Dr. William M.Y. Cheung and Dr. N.K. Tsing of the Faculty of Science tried this DIY approach of creating videos for flipping their first-year science foundation course, “SCNC1111 Scientific method and reasoning.”

Rachel created a series of short videos using a screen capture software called Camtasia. She started by putting teaching contents in presentation slides, then highlighted keywords and added annotations on a separate tablet while going through the slides. To ensure that students are engaged, she kept the videos short (2-5 minutes), illustrating one concept in each video. Students could also refer back to particular concepts easily. All videos were done in one take. The recording time was roughly the same as the time she used in delivering lectures.

Rachael1Each video will be 2-5 minutes long and covers one concept at a time.

Using videos in a flipped class
The videos were used in flipping the science class. As opposed to lecturing during the entire class, the class now consisted of first replaying videos with explanations, followed by time for in-class activities. For example, in groups of three, student solved problems using concepts learnt from the videos. Teachers were able to walk around the classroom and offer individualized support to students. Selected groups would then present their answers in front of the class using slide projectors. Members of well-performed groups would be awarded one point towards their final grade.

Rickyphotos-3Putting videos online prevents wasted lecture time to teach concepts again.

Through presenting key concepts in short videos, teachers are now free to organize more interactive in-class activities. Students can also consolidate their understanding through reviewing the videos anytime, anywhere. The use of online videos enhances the quality of learning, and it is not difficult to create your own videos via screen-capturing. Want to give it a try? Contact Us.

Further reading:

  1. Flipped Classroom: Overcoming the Challenges
  2. Conquering the 4Cs: Creating Engaging In-class Activities
  3. Flipping the classroom – a success story

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