Vol. 34 No. 1 (2019)
Research Articles

Online Discussion Forums: Quality Interactions for Reducing Statistics Anxiety in Graduate Education Students

Carla J. Thompson
University of West Florida
Bio
Lesley Leonard
University of West Florida
Bio
Nancy Bridier
Grand Canyon University
Bio
Published August 28, 2019
Keywords
  • graduate online educational statistics,
  • online discussions,
  • statistics anxiety

Abstract

Fully online graduate education courses/programs incorporate faculty-student online discussion interactions as a mainstay component for instruction. Graduate education students are required to enroll in at least one graduate statistics course often perceived by students as anxiety producing, fearful, difficult, and impossible for successful completion. This study empirically examined interrelationships among faculty-student discussion posts within online discussion forums relative to quality of discussion content, quality of discussion interactions, quality of discussion participation and students’ statistics anxiety levels within an online graduate education statistics course. The integrated conceptual framework for the study focused on online discussion forum quality constructs and statistics anxiety constructs within an online graduate education statistics course. The major research question: “What are the interrelationships among students’ posted discussions relative to online discussion quality components and students’ statistics anxiety levels within an online graduate education statistics course?” An ex post facto pre-post one group research design was used in the study.  Data analyses involved research assistants matching 68 graduate education students’ online discussion forum quality assessment ratings for discussion content, interactions, and participation with students’ corresponding statistics anxiety scores on multiple focus subscales. Pearson correlation coefficients were employed to empirically analyze interrelationships. Additionally, a pre-post statistics anxiety assessment was completed by the participating graduate education students resulting in significant dependent t-test results indicating reduced average statistics anxiety levels for the group after completing the graduate education statistics course. Implications of findings are pertinent for online graduate statistics educators, researchers, and assessment professionals. 

 

Titre: Forums de discussion en ligne: des interactions de qualité pour réduire l’anxiété engendrée par les statistiques chez les étudiants de cycle supérieur

Les interactions en ligne entre professeurs et étudiants constituent un élément essentiel de l’éducation dans les cours/programmes d’enseignement supérieur entièrement en ligne. Les étudiants de cycle supérieur doivent s’inscrire à au moins un cours de statistiques, ce qu’ils perçoivent souvent comme une source d’anxiété, de craintes, de difficultés voire d’impossibilité à réussir. Cette recherche étudie empiriquement les relations entre les professeurs et les étudiants à l’intérieur d’un forum de discussion en ligne, en s’intéressant à la qualité du contenu de la discussion, à la qualité des interactions dans la discussion, à la qualité de la participation dans la discussion et aux niveaux d’anxiété des étudiants relativement aux statistiques, dans le cadre d’un cours de statistique en ligne dans un programme d’enseignement supérieur. Le cadre conceptuel sur lequel repose cette étude se centre sur les concepts de qualité à l’intérieur d’un forum de discussion et ceux d’anxiété relativement aux statistiques, dans le cadre d’un cours de statistique en ligne dans un programme d’enseignement supérieur. La principale question de recherche est la suivante : « quelles sont les interrelations entre les discussions postées par les étudiants et, plus particulièrement, les éléments constitutifs de la qualité des discussions, et les niveaux d’anxiété des étudiants relativement aux statistiques, dans le cadre d’un cours de statistique en ligne dans un programme d’enseignement supérieur ? Une recherche fondée sur l’analyse ex post facto pre-post d’un groupe a été mise en œuvre. L’analyse de données a impliqué des assistants de recherche mettant en correspondance les scores de 68 étudiants concernant la qualité du contenu des discussions, les interactions et la participation aux discussions sur le forum avec leurs scores relatifs à l’anxiété causée par les statistiques, en regardant cela selon plusieurs sous-échelles. Les coefficients de corrélation de Pearson ont été utilisés pour analyser empiriquement les interrelations. En outre, une évaluation statistique pre-post de l’anxiété a été réalisée par les étudiants de cycles supérieurs, faisant ressortir des résultats significatifs du test t indiquant une réduction des niveaux statistiques moyens d’anxiété pour le groupe après avoir suivi le cours de statistiques d’enseignement supérieur. Ces résultats peuvent avoir des implications pour les enseignants, les chercheurs et les professionnels de l’évaluation de cours de statistiques dans l’enseignement supérieur.

 

Mots clés: cours de statistiques d’enseignement supérieur en ligne, discussion en ligne, anxiété liée aux statistiques


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