Advice for taking Stats Online

Words of Advice

From former internet students

In their own words

At the end of the fall 2006 semester, I asked students who had completed both 123 and 124 on line some questions that I thought would be helpful to both me and new students.  Bear in mind that the results are probably somewhat biased as these students were very successful, earning at least a B in each of the 2 classes.  Here are their comments (their initials identify each student):

Question:  On the average, how much time did you spend a week on Statistics?

M.S. – Approximately 6 hours.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  A lot of time was spent on typing up the mathematical responses for homework assignments in MAT-124.

P.G. – About 4 – 6 hours

A.S. – I spent anywhere from four to six hours a week working on statistics.

K.R. – I am guilty of bulking some of the lessons together and skipping a week here and there.  Work has kept me extremely busy… much busier this part of the year than last semester (where I did keep up week to week), but I would say the average amount of time, for me, per week, would be about 3 hours.

C.B. – at least 6 hours

Question:  Why did you choose to take an on-line class as opposed to a “live” class?

M.S. -I am currently taking all math related courses to increase the number of math credits that I have. I have already completed my Bachelor’s Degree at another school, but wanted to take math courses closer to home. The first few semesters I decided to take an online course, as well as a “live” course, so that I could double up on my efforts and complete the courses more quickly. I wanted to take two math courses at the same time and felt that it might be possible if I took two classes that didn’t necessarily “build” upon each other. For example, I couldn’t take Calc I and Calc II in one semester so I looked at courses that might work better for my intentions. Another issue that played a role in the registration process was the scheduling of live courses. I needed to continue to work full-time and have time for my son so I couldn’t find a way to manage two live courses during the same semester. If the internet course was not available I would not have registered for two courses each semester because the difficulty wasn’t in finding time to complete the work- but in finding the time to be physically present in the classroom.

P.G. – I work full time and have children, so online classes fit my schedule. I would love if the college offered more online classes.

A.S. - I chose to take MAT 124 online because MAT 123 online worked well for me. I opted to take these classes online because they fit well into my class schedule. Rather than being on campus four nights a week, I thought online classes would help me earn the credits I need to graduate, but still be able to stay at home with my daughter during the day.

K.R. - The on-line class allows for a flexible schedule to fit in with my work schedule.  I am not a full time student, so it is nice to be able to do the lessons after work, or early in the morning before work… or during work hours if time allows.

C.B. - I would prefer a live class for math, since it is not my strong point. However, I really needed the flexibility of the schedule. I couldn’t fit a live class into my schedule. I need the hands-on approach for this material.

Question:  Are there any aspects of either course that should be re-vamped or improved to help with student success? If so, please identify the problem and any suggestions for improvement.

M.S. – The only issue that I had was with submitting homework for the second part of the course. But a “downside” of that is easily balanced out by the benefit of being able to work at my own pace and on my own schedule for any given week’s assignment. In other words- I got over it!

P.G. – The only problem I had was printing out the mini lessons. WebCT should offer a printable format so I wouldn’t have to waste so much paper.

A.S. – After taking both MAT 123 and 124 online, I have nothing to say about the class that i think should be changed. I was never a good math student, but the lessons were so simple to understand. These classes were the first math classes that i have taken that I maintained A/B grade work throughout the class. The only thing I can think of is that the book’s DDXL instructions were a little bit confusing to follow. Maybe instead of saying to follow the book, you could give the step by step instructions like in some of the mini-lessons.

Note:  This problem was corrected for Math 124 for spring 2007.  Math 123 does not use the software as much.  With the change of text books from Triola to Sullivan, we changed fromDDXL to Ph Stat

K.R. I think the class is run very well.  The WebCT provides a forum for both the lessons and communication.  The format is easy to understand and allows for students to meet their requirements while balancing other tasks in their daily lives.

C.B. No. I think your lessons, in conjunction with the text, is a good combination.

 Question: Are there any suggestions or words of advice that you would offer to any prospective student considering taking an on-line statistics class?

M.S. – The only thing that might make an online course difficult for students unfamiliar with them (aside from the requirement to be self-motivated in order to “stick with” the work) might be that some people learn better from a visual representation of the material. Not just images or drawings or formulas written out, but watching someone work through the formula in front of them. While the course material does this as best as it possibly can (even including screenshots and set-by-step instructions for using the TI calculator) a student who learns best from this method may have trouble learning the material in time to meet the course’s scheduled requirements. While the professor has always been available for questions and comments, and the message board is also set up for feedback, questions and comments- it does not and cannot match the immediate attention that an in-class instructor can offer.

P. G. Keep up with the lessons. If you start to run behind, you may stay that way for the whole course. Also, make up your test sheet of notes as you are learning the lesson.

A.S.  DO NOT FALL BEHIND!!!!!! I know you told us this in the very beginning, and for a while I was doing very well. And then life happened, my daughter got sick, I got sick, and next thing I knew I was three weeks behind and spent three hours each day for four to five days playing catch-up! Other than that, I would recommend this online stats class to anyone.

K.R. I would definitely advise someone to take an on line class.  My issue with live classes is that sometimes you have a complete understanding of a topic after reading through a lesson or chapter,  but the class must slow down in order for others to comprehend.  I enjoy learning at a rapid pace, as I can absorb the knowledge and move on.

C.B. You have to work even harder because there is no live instruction.  Must be self-disciplined.

Question:  Did you find the mini-lessons helpful OR did you just rely on the text book?

M. S. I found the mini-lessons for both courses to be EXTREMELY helpful and treated the book as the supplement. While the book was pretty well written (even humorous at times) the lessons were very clear and I would actually love the opprotunity to take additional courses if they were being offered with Prof. Osborne.

 Note:  This was with the Triola Book

P.G. I felt the mini lessons were vital to have some hands on before starting the book lesson. It helped me to be able to create my test notes as I went through the lessons because I could identify what was important.

A. S. I loved the mini lessons, They were so easy to understand. I started out by reading the book lessons after the mini-lessons, but i just got confused. The only time I used the book was if one of the chapter problems asked for something that was not mentioned in the mini-lesson.

K.R. The mini-lessons you have provided were extremely helpful.  They gave a nice overview regarding the purpose of the lesson, along with the basic calculations to be done.  The textbook then followed up with more in depth information and background regarding the topic.  Words cannot explain how helpful the mini-lessons are in compacting the objectives of the lessons, and providing concise information, especially for reference when studying for the tests.

C.B. I found the mini-lessons very helpful. I would have liked them to be a little more thorough.

Question: Any other comments?

M.S. My first experience with internet courses was with Prof. Osborne and the experience was great. I can’t imagine that all internet course professors conduct their classes in the same manner (live professors don’t so why would internet professors) but for the purpose of learning online she has definitely set things up to offer the best possible chance of success.

P. G. I enjoyed statistics and also like online classes and hope MCC expands its offering.

A. S. As I mentioned before, I was never a math student. When i talked to my advisor about which math to take, i cringed and panicked when he said statistics. But you made statistics simple to understand. I have enjoyed taking both statistics classes with you. So I guess all I want to say is thank-you. You have made math fun again.

K.R. It has been a pleasure taking your classes the past two semesters, as you run an excellent show.

C.B. Great Professor!


Prof:  Jeanne Osborne

January 18, 2007