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Personal Response Systems for teaching postgraduate statistics to small groups

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Abstract

Technology is increasingly used to aid the teaching of statistics. Personal Response Systems (PRS) involve equipping students with a handset allowing them to send responses to questions put to them by a lecturer. PRS allows lectures to be more interactive and can help reinforce material. It can also allow the lecturer to monitor students’ understanding of course content. PRS is most commonly used in large lectures where interaction from the students is particularly difficult.
However, we consider its use in a small group (around 15 students) of MSc in Statistics students. Recommendations based on this experience are discussed, in particular the importance of good question design. We consider possible diagnostics for the appropriateness of questions based on response data.