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Activity Number: 558
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Wednesday, August 3, 2016 : 10:30 AM to 12:20 PM
Sponsor: Section on Statistical Education
Abstract #318821
Title: Improving Retention in an Online Introductory Statistics Course
Author(s): Whitney Zimmerman* and Glenn Johnson
Companies: Penn State University and Penn State University
Keywords: Online education ; Introductory statistics ; Student retention ; Student engagement

In Fall 2015 data were collected from 353 online undergraduate introductory statistics students. The GOALS assessment and an abbreviated form of the statistics anxiety rating scale (STARS) were administered. Students were surveyed concerning their time commitment, expected grade, and math abilities during the first week of class. There were statistically significant differences between students who successfully completed the course and those who did not on two of the STARS subscales (self-concept and teacher) as well as on the question concerning expected grade. However, these variables could not be used to reliably predict course completion. Completing the first lesson quiz was a strong predictor of course completion. Additionally, at the end of the semester a survey was sent to students who did not successfully complete the course; fifteen individuals completed that survey and their responses have been summarized to identify themes. Data collection continues in the Spring 2016 semester and emphasizes motivation, meaningful engagement, and time management. Suggestions for improving retention in online introductory statistics courses will be provided.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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