Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


VISA: Reducing Technological Impact on Student Learning in an Introductory Statistics Course

In this empirical study we compare student performance using two different teaching methods in introductory business statistics course. Two groups were taught in the computer lab with software available at students’ fingertips while one was taught in the regular classroom with only a computer workstation for the instructor. VISA (Visual Interactive Statistical Analysis), an Excel-based analysis software package was used in classroom to perform computational analysis of the data in all three groups. Exam data and final course grades indicate that student performance between the two methods was not affected by presence of the software in classroom for use by students. This leads us to conclude that VISA is an intuitive enough tool, which does not require a major learning curve, and can be mastered by students with minimal supervision. Second, we conclude that if the software used for statistics instruction is “teaching-friendly”, then technology availability in the classroom does not affect learning efficiency. This allows instructors to concentrate more efforts in class teaching conceptually important material.

A Randomized Experiment Exploring How Certain Features of Clicker Use Effect Undergraduate Students' Engagement and Learning in Statistics

This paper describes a randomized experiment conducted in an undergraduate introductory statistics course that investigated the impact of clickers on students. Specifically, the effects of three features of clicker use on engagement and learning were explored. These features included: 1) the number of questions asked during a class period, 2) the way those questions were incorporated into the material, and 3) the grading or monitoring of clicker use. Several hierarchical linear models of both engagement and learning outcomes were fit. Based on these analyses, there was little evidence that clicker use increased students' engagement. There was some evidence, however, that clicker use improved students' learning. Increases in learning seemed to take place when the clicker questions were well incorporated into the material, particularly if the number of questions asked was low.