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The Emerging Learning Design Journal

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Many instructors acknowledge the importance of quantitative literacy in non-STEM fields and may themselves use advanced tools for data analysis, statistics and visualization. But how, if at all, does an instructor introduce quantitative methods into the classroom without overwhelming and disengaging students who may have been drawn to the field precisely because it has not traditionally required any skill or interest in science, technology, engineering or math? I present a model of iterative assignment design illustrated by the evolution of a phonetic exercise in which students are asked to measure vowels from their own speech and to plot their measurements on a graph in order to re-create the standard organization of vowel sounds found in linguistics textbooks. The different iterations involved varying degrees of technology (from low-tech pencil-and-paper to high-tech computing environment) and technological support and are evaluated with respect to NICHE best practices. The most recent iteration finds a compromise in a simple web app driven by the powerful R statistical computing environment.

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