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Live lectures or online videos: students’ resource choices in a first-year university mathematics module


Emma Howard, Maria Meehan, Andrew Parnell

Publication Type: 
Refereed Original Article
In Maths for Business, a mathematics module for non-mathematics specialists, students are given the choice of completing the module content via short online videos, live lectures or a combination of both. In this study, we identify students’ specific usage patterns with both of these resources and discuss their reasons for the preferences they exhibit. In 2015–2016, we collected quantitative data on each student's resource usage (attendance at live lectures and access of online videos) for the entire class of 522 students and employed model-based clustering which identified four distinct resource usage patterns with lectures and/or videos. We also collected qualitative data on students’ perceptions of resource usage through a survey administered at the end of the semester, to which 161 students responded. The 161 survey responses were linked to each cluster and analysed using thematic analysis. Perceived benefits of videos include flexibility of scheduling and pace, and avoidance of large, long lectures. In contrast, the main perceived advantages of lectures are the ability to engage in group tasks, to ask questions, and to learn ‘gradually’. Students in the two clusters with high lecture attendance achieved, on average, higher marks in the module.
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Publication Status: 
Date Accepted for Publication: 
Tuesday, 12 September, 2017
Publication Date: 
Journal International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology
National University of Ireland, Dublin (UCD)
Open access repository: