CREATING INTERACTIVE LEARNING MATERIALS TO PROMOTE STATISTICAL SKILLS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
New opportunities for lifelong learning, alternative curricula in pre-university education and fairly “open” policies on access to Higher Education (HE) have boosted, in recent decades, the problem of the lack of homogenization of knowledge and skills of “freshmen” students in Higher Education Institutions (HEI). This problem becomes overwhelming when it comes to "constructive" basic curricular units, such as Mathematics or Statistics, in non-mathematical degrees, in areas as Administration, Accounting or Management. This is a daily “struggle” faced by teachers of these curricular units as they try to talk about more advanced subjects to a very heterogeneous audience, with significant differences in Math background, promoting the participation of all students and avoiding the early drop out of some. In this sense, other didactic strategies, which include a set of activities that combine higher order thinking skills with math subjects and technology, for students of HE, appear as remedial but important, proactive and innovative measures in order to face and try to level up Math competences without risking the “repetition process”, that unfortunately promotes other kind dropout behaviors.
In this paper some of these strategies, developed in the Polytechnic of Porto (P.PORTO) and based on the creation and usefulness of the interactive teaching and learning materials, will be presented. The actual need for innovating in the teaching-learning process was felt and the search for a good support software, that enables to develop all the materials and implement real interactions, culminated with the choice of iSpring Suite 9. This software is a powerful eLearning toolkit for PowerPoint that allows to develop quality courses, video lectures, and assessments that will work on any desktop, laptop and mobile platform. Therefore, the use of the iSpring Suite 9 will be described, with a special focus on core objective when teaching statistics to students from the Management and Business degree in a HEI and facing the abovementioned issues - to improve students’ basic statistics skills and enhance their motivation in learning Statistics.