# Do-opposites-attract by akgame

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```									Do opposites
attract?
Dr. Roberto Bencivenga
Red Deer College
A quick preface
   So much to do, so little time…
 Thank   God for PowerPoint?
   Red Deer College:
 RuralAlberta (East of Rockies)
 Community College
 Approximately 4500 FTE
 Wide range of programs including…
   First year Engineering transfer program:
 Calculus
 Linear   algebra
   Full 4-year Nursing Degree:
 Basics   of statistics
 Opposites? Yes!
 Do they attract? In more ways than one!
First year Engineering:
the students
 Mostly males
 Not strong on average
 Mixture of go-getters and parkers
 Need to:
 Bring  them up to speed
 Perform a selection
 Clarify University demands
 Present a supportive image
First year Engineering:
the environment
   Our school system does:
 allowcalculators
 not emphasize control of basics or proficiency
 promote “real life” philosophy

   Our receiving University does:
 not allow calculators
 expect good quality to maintain transfer
arrangements
First year Engineering:
the usual stuff
   Use marked activities as leverage for the
 No marked homework, except for carrot
“bonus” exercises.
 Weekly lab quizzes based on textbook
exercises
 Two major Tests plus Final Exam
First year Engineering:
the “innovation”
 Questions:
 How can we balance the attitude students
bring from high school with what is
expected from University?
 How can we wean students from the
calculator without abandoning it?
 How can we make them to think?
First year Engineering:
the “innovation”
 The structure of each major tests and
Final Exam is that of a “triple jump”.
 Each such test is divided into three
separate tests:
A  memory test
 A basic skills test
 A proficiency test
The Memory test
   A set of randomly selected questions from a list
   Each question refers to a basic formula,
definition or theorem
   Approximately 1 minute per question
   No aid allowed.
   3 marks for each correct answer, 0 for any
blanks, -1 for each incorrect answer.
The Basic Skills test
 A short set of exercise-level questions
 Approximately 10 minutes per question
 Only aid allowed: a 4x6 handwritten card
 No calculator.
 Each question is out of 4 marks
The Proficiency test
 A shorter set of advanced questions
requiring a combination of methods
 Approximately 20 minutes per question
 Any hand-written notes allowed, no book
 Any calculator allowed
 Each question is out of 10 marks
 Evaluation is qualitative
So, did it work?
   From my point of view, yes:        
 Excellent discrimination
 Pedagogical message loud and clear
 Lots of ideas for further refinements

   From their point of view, not clear       ?
 Not   comfortable with unusual format
 They hated the memory test
 It’s always too long
Four-year Nursing:
the students
 Mostly females
 Strong in core nursing areas
 Mostly determined to succeed
 Weak in and closed to math
 Determined to avoid learning any math-
related knowledge
Four-year Nursing:
the environment
   Our Nursing program:
 is part of a Province-wide consortium
 uses “Problem-Based Learning” model
 is very intense and time-demanding
 focuses on one-to-one learning
 requires students to know enough statistics to
be able to overview and assess the data
analysis methods used in research papers
Four-year Nursing:
the “innovation”
 Questions:
 How can we balance the requirement for
statistical knowledge with its perceived
marginal role in this profession?
 How can we encourage evidence-based
practice without getting too technical?
 How can we get them to relax about stats?
Four-year Nursing:
the “innovation”
 No formal statistics course
 Year  1: Collecting and summarizing data
 Year 2: Probability and hypothesis testing
 Year 3: How to (superficially) critique a
statistical data analysis
   Focus on hands-on application
Year 1: Descriptive Stats
   In small groups, students:
 Collect data from a community agency
 Summarize data using basic methods
 Identify the problems encountered
 Propose alternative methods

   No marks attached!
Year 2: Probability and
hypothesis testing
   Basic concepts introduced:
 Probability  (and epidemiological applications)
 Randomization (and clinical trials)
 Hypothesis testing (protocol and jargon)
 Statistical and clinical significance

 No formulae
 A few multiple choice questions on exams
Year 3: Critiquing a data-based
research article
   In small groups, students:
 Select  a relevant research article
 Identify all major stats methods used
 Try to assess their appropriateness

 Focus on interpretation
 Focus on finding features of the tests used
 Reports worth 15% of the Nursing
Research course
So, does it work?
   From my point of view, yes       
 Anxietyis lower, learning is higher
 Applicability comes through
 Students see and accept relevance of stats

   From their point of view, yes!     
 They appreciate the reduced weight
 They realize they are comfortable with stats
 They even start wanting more!
Do opposites attract?
   The opposites:
 Gender
 Aims
 Environment
 Students perspective
 Further work to be done
Do opposites attract?
   The overlaps:
 Three aspects
 Need to support students
 Focus on role of evaluation
 Our need to adapt to circumstances
 Our need to love our students:

   Students don’t care how much we know
unless they know how much we care.

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