Virtual Assistance Labs and Just-In-Time-Online Proactive Feedback: Reducing Statistics Anxiety In Graduate Students

Concurrent Session 4
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Brief Abstract

The move from 16-week face-to-face lecture/laboratory classes to 8-week fully online graduate educational statistics courses at the University of West Florida initiated a new challenge for faculty and students. The challenge focused on concerns related to students’ statistics anxiety levels. Statistics courses are often viewed by graduate education students as anxiety producing, frightening, difficult, and impossible for successful completion. Students often postpone or avoid taking required statistics courses until late in their programs. The need to explore enhanced instructional options for faculty working with statistics anxious graduate students within an asynchronous teaching environment prompted the implementation of a two-fold statistics-friendly online approach: (1) an interactive technology approach involving virtual assistance laboratory (VAL) case studies using real-world statistical problems and (2) a just-in-time-online (JITO) personal proactive personal feedback approach involving daily reassuring consistent feedback from faculty members via online discussion threads. Significant reductions in average statistics anxiety levels of graduate students were found to empirically relate to specific types of positive feedback from faculty members. In addition, empirical evidence supporting the use of virtual case studies as beneficial for reducing students’ statistics anxiety levels and increasing students’ satisfaction levels was documented in support of this effort as an effective practice.


Professor of Graduate Educational Statistics and Research Director, Community Outreach Research and Learning (CORAL) Center Department of Research and Advanced Studies University of West Florida 11000 University Parkway 77/103 Pensacola, Florida 32514