Project introduction and background information
Learning mathematics is a complex process, requiring many conceptual lenses and rich data sources to document and understand students' construction of knowledge. Specifically within the context of learning mathematics in university, using online videos in university mathematics modules has been shown to have advantages. Perceived benefits of videos include flexibility of scheduling and pace, and avoidance of large, long lectures. Research has also shown that though videos provide a useful resource, they should be used in this context only in conjunction with lectures. Findings show that students use videos as either a complement to, or substitute for, the lecture, and time spent using either or both resources has a significant impact on learning.
In this project, we test these findings in the context of a newly redesigned course on the Masters level. The course is an established Masters course in the core of the programme of the department. It comprises three distinct topics in stochastics. The current design involves 4 lecture hours per week, 4 guided self-study instruction hours, three midterm examinations (one on each topic), and a final exam. The material currently offered to students is lecture notes, one single book covering all topics, instruction sets, sketches of solutions to the instruction exercises, low-level comprehension quizzes per lecture, videos of the complete series of lectures from previous years, and practice exam sets for the final examination.
Objective and expected outcomes
For the project, new videos of mini-lectures are created to complement this material. A light board is used, which mimics the experience of a teacher writing a proof in class in terms of pacing, visualisation, and level of information. A third of the videos works through material already offered to the students but not explained in class and two thirds present new notions (that are not part of the assessment of the course). The objectives are to increasing the students’ engagement with the course and improving their outcomes. The project aims to estimate whether students are triggered more by innovation and are willing to explore new resources intrinsically due to their novelty or whether these resources have an inherent added value to students (in the specific context of a specialised and rather challenging first year Master course of the IAM curriculum.)
In the design of the project, an appropriate control group has been created that allows comparison of grades between different student populations. The engagement of the students will be evaluated through observation of their interactions and their self-evaluation on how engaging they found the material as reported in the course evaluation.
Results and learnings
In the design of the project, an appropriate control group has been created that allows comparison of grades between different student populations. The engagement of the students will be evaluated through observation of their interactions and their self-evaluation on how engaging they found the material as reported in the course evaluation. The new material will be created in Spring 2021. The experiment will run in Q1 2021-2022 and the results will be reported in December 2021.
Recommendations will be provided after the final report has been published.
A final report will be published here and potentially a case-study in an appropriate academic journal.