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Type: Conference paper
Title: Alternative learning methods in a business statistics course
Author: Arnold, A.
Citation: The quantitative analysis of teaching and learning in higher education in business, economics and commerce : forum proceedings / M. Davies and R. Lever (eds.): pp.73-88
Publisher: University of Melbourne
Publisher Place: Melbourne
Issue Date: 2007
ISBN: 9780734036902
Conference Name: Quantitative Analysis of Teaching and Learning Forum (2007 : Melbourne, Vic.)
Editor: Davies, D.
Abstract: This paper discusses an alternative learning option in an introductory business statistics course at the University of Adelaide. Being compulsory, level 1 and quantitative, the course is unpopular with students; it is also difficult to teach for several reasons including the huge diversity of the students, especially with respect to their mathematics background. This project focussed on the good students— the high achievers in the course, students who have done statistics previously at school or work and want to move on—they are time poor; they want immediacy; they are computer literate; they like to learn for themselves, when and where they want to. This is not consistent with the traditional lecture-based teaching of a University. Instead, the independent learning option (ILO) was instigated in which students were not required to attend lectures or tutorials but were assessed by major assignments and the same final exam as the other students. This independent learning approach is flexible— students learn at their own pace and time and do not have to study material they already know. This paper discusses the implementation and evaluation of this option over two semesters. There are resource costs in setting up this type of program which must be matched by benefits to students and the course in general. In fact, the IL option was a resounding failure — the grades achieved by these students were poor! A priori, these students were expected to attain higher grades than the other students; in fact, they were lower. The paper compares the results of the IL students with the other students and discusses reasons for this failure. Despite the failure of the program, there are positive aspects which should not be overlooked.
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Economics publications

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