CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Martha Snyder

Committee Member

Gertrude Abramson

Committee Member

Nina D. Miville


Difficulties in learning and understanding statistics in college education have led to a reform movement in statistics education in the early 1990s. Although much work has been done, there is more work that needs to be done in statistics education. The progress depends on how well the educators bring interesting real-life data into the classroom.

The goal was to understand how course design based on First Principles of Instruction could facilitate tertiary-level students' conceptual understanding when learning introductory statistics in a technology-enhanced learning environment. An embedded single descriptive case design was employed to investigate how integrating technology and real data into a tertiary level statistics course would affect students' statistical literacy, reasoning, and thinking. Data including online assignment postings, online discussions, online peer evaluations, a comprehensive assessment, and open-ended interviews were analyzed to understand how the implementation of First Principles of Instruction affected a student's conceptual understanding in a tertiary level introductory statistics course. In addition, the teaching and learning quality (TALQ) survey was administered to evaluate the teaching and learning quality of the designed instruction from the student's perspective.

Results from both quantitative and qualitative data analyses indicate that the course designed following Merrill's First Principles of Instruction contributes to a positive overall effectiveness of promoting students' conceptual understanding in terms of literacy, reasoning, and thinking statistically. However, students' statistical literacy, specifically, the understanding of statistical terminology did not develop to a satisfactory level as expected.