Interview with Dr Dirk Tempelaar on the use of MyLab® Statistics, Maastricht University, Netherlands

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Dr Dirk Tempelaar shares his experience with MyLab Statistics and how it helps him bridge the inevitable student performance gap during his introductory course, Mathematics & Statistics, taught to all first-year students. 

With the enrolment of 1400 students this year, Dr Tempelaar attributes the success of his course to a blended learning model based on problem-solving methods during face-to-face teaching and several different resources as part of the students’ self-studying routine. 

MyLab® Statistics has been a particularly successful resource for this blended learning model, with over 1200 students using it to prepare for class. 


The challenges of teaching first-year students

The purpose of MyLab, according to Dirk, is to achieve a more inclusive classroom experience where students are active participants, regardless of their diverse background and prior knowledge of Maths and Statistics. 

Upon tackling the different levels of knowledge, Dr Tempelaar adopts problem-based learning as a specific form of flipped classroom, with the more advanced problems allocated to smaller groups of students to solve. These sessions are very effective in supporting the “silent listeners”, as he called them, and the development of problem-solving skills is not limited to the students with a stronger background. 

MyLab is crucial to the success of this flipped classroom approach: 

“MyLab plays a key role. Students prepare for the sessions by reading literature, but in order to practice what they have read in the literature, they use MyLab.” 

– Dr Dirk Tempelaar, Maastricht University, Netherlands 


Intrinsic motivation starts from showcasing interesting topics 

According to Dirk, assigning homework and quizzes based on MyLab - the latter offering up to 15% credit - plays a great role in the motivation students need to be effective. As a result, MyLab does not only have formative use but is blended in with the course curriculum and used alongside the textbook content. That way, it can provide a mix of formative and summative assessments as a way of stimulating student learning of certain topics in the course. 

Dr Tempelaar also stresses the use of the worked example-based learning: 

“The weaker students, especially, profit from the fact that a problem they cannot directly solve will be explained by the tool step-by-step, indicating how they can solve it. They are then in the position to be able to do it themselves.” 

– Dr Dirk Tempelaar, Maastricht University, Netherlands 

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