An on-line toolkit for teaching statistics to Bioscience students

A presentation from the STEM Annual Conference 2014.

All undergraduate bioscience students study statistics during their course. However, statistics are often taught in isolation from the context of their studies, and are often considered by students to be ‘dry’ and irrelevant (until the student comes to their final year project!). This presentation introduces an on-line ‘Biostatistics Toolkit’, available as an Open Education Resource, that aims to develop undergraduate students’ confidence and abilities to apply basic biostatistics, using SPSS software and based on examples that are relevant to the student’s own field of study (in this case Biomedical Science, Biochemistry & Pharmacology, Nutrition, and Forensics).

After a brief introduction to statistics and SPSS, the toolkit is structured as a decision tree, allowing students to select the appropriate statistical test for their data. Each test has an example set of data and a video clip to illustrate how to carry out the analysis in SPSS. There are four small data sets, each relating to one of the four fields of study mentioned above, that students can use to try the statistical test themselves, and short MCQs to check that they have understood the outcome. The toolkit can be available to all students throughout their degree to enable them to learn, practice and revisit it at their own convenience and pace. It can also be used to support formal lectures and seminars/workshops by offering relevant, ‘hands-on’ experience for students. Finally, the effectiveness of the toolkit as a teaching resource for undergraduate students after its first year of use will be evaluated.

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