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Embedding opportunities for participation and feedback in large mathematics lectures via audience response systems

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  • The purpose of this work is to interpret the experiences of students when audience response systems (ARS) were implemented as a strategy for teaching large mathematics lecture groups at university. Our paper makes several contributions to the literature. Firstly, we furnish a basic model of how ARS can form a teaching and learning strategy. Secondly, we examine the impact of this strategy on student attitudes of their experiences, focusing on the ability of ARS to: assess understanding; identify strengths and weaknesses; furnish feedback; support learning; and to encourage participation. Our findings support the position that there is a place for ARS as part of a strategy for teaching and learning mathematics in large groups.

    Mathematics Subject Classification: Research article.

    Citation:

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  • Figure 1.  Sample Question from Quiz: Q1ii)

    Figure 2.  Sample Question from Quiz: Q2i)

    Figure 3.  Sample Question from Quiz: Q2ii)

    Figure 4.  Class Responses to Question 1ii) of Quiz

    Figure 5.  Class Responses to Question 2i) of Quiz

    Figure 6.  Class Responses to Question 2ii) of Quiz

    Table 1.  Groups of Interest

    Group Details
    Target: Undergraduate students in large mathematics classes
    Sample: Students in Lecture Group 1 of MATH1131 during the algebra lectures where the intervention took place
    Comparison: Students in Lecture Group 1 of MATH1131 during the calculus lectures where no intervention took place
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    Table 2.  Themes and Relevant Components of Audience Response Systems

    Theme Relevant Components
    ARS: Lecture (re)design and (re)deliveryEmbedding of discussion, assessment and feedback
    Digital Education: Use of mobile devices (laptops, phones, tabletsCreation of YouTube videos
    Open Educational Resources: Use of Google Forms
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    Table 3.  Summary of Intervention: Framework for Delivery

    Activity Technology
    Deliver material at start of lecture None necessarily required
    Assess material via short, formative quiz Accessed via Google Forms / responses via m-devices on wifi or network
    Feedback to class on the results of quiz Discuss results via graphs from Google Forms
    Discussion and thoughts on how to improve (if needed) None necessarily required
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    Table 4.  Evaluation Overview

    Evaluation Approach Timing/Sample/Analysis Evaluation Focus
    Attitude Data 1: (Sample Group) Post intervention. Attitudinal data collected from bespoke survey of 348 students within component of intervention (algebra lectures). Six-point Likert scale employed; mean values calculated, including 95% confidence intervals. Comments collected and coded. Impact on students' attitudes towards their learning experience.
    Attitude Data 2: (Sample Group) 3 weeks after Survey 1. Attitudinal data collected from survey of ~180 students within component of intervention (algebra lectures). This is a subset of the 348 students from previous survey. Six-point Likert scale employed; mean values calculated, including 95% confidence intervals. Comments collected and coded. Sample Group and Control Group compared via statistical tests. Impact on students' attitudes towards their learning experience.
    Attitude Data 3: (Control Group) 3 weeks after Survey 1. Attitudinal data collected from survey of 102 students within component where no intervention took place (calculus lectures). This is a subset of the 348 students from previous survey. Six-point Likert scale employed; mean values calculated, including 95% confidence intervals. Sample Group and Control Group compared via statistical tests. Impact on students' attitudes towards their learning experience.
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    Table 5.  Statements in Survey 1 (A-F) and Survey 2 (G-H)

    Item Statement
    A The quizzes provided a valuable opportunity to test my understanding of basic ideas
    B The quizzes helped to identify specific strengths and weaknesses of my understanding
    C It was valuable to have immediate feedback and discussion of the results
    D The quizzes encouraged and supported my learning
    E Overall, I was satisfied that these quizzes were a valuable learning tool
    F I would like to have these kinds of quizzes available to support my learning in future lectures
    G This lecturer provided feedback to help me learn
    H This lecturer encouraged student input and participation during classes
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    Table 6.  Responses of Sample Group to Survey 1 and 2

    Statement Strongly Disagree Disagree MildlyDisagree Mildly Agree Agree StronglyAgree n
    A 3 1 1 16 149 178 348
    B 3 2 7 44 157 135 348
    C 3 0 2 18 115 210 348
    D 3 2 1 46 165 131 348
    E 3 2 1 24 163 155 348
    F 3 0 1 15 136 193 348
    G 1 4 2 24 66 81 178
    H 0 1 1 4 44 131 181
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    Table 7.  Responses of Control Group to Survey 1 and 2

    Statement Strongly Disagree Disagree MildlyDisagree Mildly Agree Agree StronglyAgree n
    G 2 10 17 37 26 10 102
    H 5 11 22 37 19 9 103
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    Table 8.  Analysis of Responses of Sample Group to Survey 1 and 2

    Statement Mean Score/ 6 ConfidenceInterval 95% % OverallAgree* StandardDeviation ofMean n
    A 5.42 ±0.08 99 0.75 348
    B 5.17 ±0.09 97 0.82 348
    C 5.51 ±0.08 99 0.75 348
    D 5.19 ±0.09 98 0.82 348
    E 5.31 ±0.08 98 0.82 348
    F 5.47 ±0.08 99 0.72 348
    G 5.21 ±0.14 96 0.94 178
    H 5.66 ±0.10 99 0.70 181
    *Overall Agreement is defined as those responses of: Mildy Agree; Agree; or Strongly Agree.
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    DownLoad: CSV

    Table 9.  Analysis of Responses of Control Group to Survey 2

    Statement Mean Score/ 6 ConfidenceInterval 95% % OverallAgree* StandardDeviation ofMean n
    G 4.03 ±0.23 72 1.18 102
    H 3.79 ±0.24 63 1.25 104
    *Overall Agreement is defined as those responses of: Mildy Agree; Agree; or Strongly Agree.
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    Table 10.  Themed Comments from Sample Group in Survey 1

    Theme Number
    Efficacy 32
    Appreciation 29
    Constructive Suggestions 16
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    DownLoad: CSV

    Table 11.  Significance Tests Between Sample Group and Control Group to Survey 2

    Statement Student's t-testp < 0.05? Mann-Whitney U-test p < 0.05? Effect Size (Cohen's d)
    G Yes Yes 1.10
    H Yes Yes 1.84
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