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Learning Enhancement and Development

Session 2G - Paper 2

Recycle, Repurpose, Reimagine: Using open resourced materials to enhance student’s learning experiences in research methods.

Dr Heather Cleland Woods - University of Glasgow
Dr Helena Paterson - University of Glasgow
Dr Phil McAleer - University of Glasgow
Dr Niamh Stack  - University of Glasgow

We introduced blended learning and the flipped classroom in our pedagogical review of our course so want to share our practice about that.  The focus is also on supporting students from diverse backgrounds to support student success.

At Masters level we teach a Research Methods course where students from varied backgrounds, including home and international students, either come with no mathematical or science background and a deep anxiety centred on statistics, or simply come to enhance their skills.  Due to such varied ability we have encountered two divisive issues. The first is in marrying practical skills, such as experimental design and report writing, to student perceptions of research method as being primarily about learning statistics. Secondly we are challenged, in a single class, to fully realise the potential of students at all the different levels of experience.  We share here our two-fold solution.  

As recommended by Chew and Dillon (2014), within the practical classes we have de-emphasised elements such as theoretical statistics, focussing more on student-centred and student-led group activities about developing research questions and discussions.  Secondly, we support student-led discussions with online technology as well as making extension activities available that facilitate autonomous learning of statistical concepts at a level that is most comfortable for each individual. Extension activities are resourced through open access or repurposed sources.  For instance, we repurposed our Level 2 Echo 360 recordings to act as introductory lectures to students; recommended Coursera courses in statistical theory; evaluated and recommended YouTube movies and other online resources.

Since open resources encompass a great range of material, they allow students to self-select the level at which they will engage and effectively widen the range of resource available to students.  The purpose of this has been to change student focus in class from anxiety about statistics, to student-centred activities on research evaluation and synthesis while enhancing self-efficacy and confidence on our learners.  This work was previously presented at the University of Glasgow Teaching and Learning conference in 2016.


Chew, P.K.H. & Dillon, D.B. 2014, "Statistics Anxiety Update: Refining the Construct and Recommendations for a New Research Agenda", Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 196-208.