Students learn a great deal from assignments, and for those taking statistical or analytic-based courses this is especially true. However, providing all students in a class with the same data sets can lead to answer sharing rather than focus on approach and method of analysis. Marking such assignments are also cumbersome for TAs, taking time away from personal interaction with students and the opportunity to provide in-depth feedback on their development.
Mike Marin has been working with Dr. Bruce Dunham, and UBC’s Department of Statistics, to improve on the traditional format for assignments. Together, they are developing a new assignment template, using an open-source online homework system. Data sets will be generated based on the same pattern for all students, however student identifiers will be used to create unique numeric values for each student in the course. The online homework system will also be used to mark large portions of the assignments.
Creating assignments in this manner will redirect student learning from a comparison of numeric answers to one focused on methodology and statistical principles. In addition, it will allow TAs to focus on face-to-face interaction with students, and also ensure better use of available resources.
Source: SPPH Summer activities series