The Dreaded Compulsory Statistics Class: Surviving the Semester with the help of Professor Homer Simpson and YouTube

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Compulsory “service” courses are a part of many degrees, providing students with the core knowledge and skills required for their intended majors. Unfortunately they often have a bad reputation with students as they are commonly seen as boring and in some cases perceived as being extremely difficult since they can take a student out of their academic comfort zone. Student feedback would suggest that Statistics is one of the worst such subjects, invoking such fear that there is even a field of research based around measuring “Statistics Anxiety”. This paper illustrates ways in which the first year statistics teaching team sort to reduce student anxiety and increase attendance, student retention and pass rates by incorporating pop culture stalwarts such as The Simpsons and videos from YouTube into their teaching.


Keywords: Statistics Courses, Narrated Screen Capture Videos, Student Retention, Teaching and Learning, Student Feedback, Compulsory Courses
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Kanchan Bandyopadhyay

Lecturer in Finance and Economics, Unitec Business School, Unitec New Zealand
Mt Albert, Auckland, New Zealand

Kanchan Bandyopadhyay has been in New Zealand for almost 10 years and moved to Unitec in 2005 having taught in the Primary and Secondary School sectors. In his time in NZ, he has also been employed in the Ministry of Education as a Policy Analyst, developing policy targeted at students with special needs and schools at risk. Before entering the education sector, he worked in the Insurance and IT sectors in Australasia.

He believes that personal improvement occurs through ongoing education, a balanced lifestyle and self-reflection and has been involved in organising and presenting seminars and conferences throughout New Zealand that seek to professionally develop students, teachers, industry members and departments in schools.

He is currently the Chairman of the Auckland Region of the New Zealand Commerce and Economics Teachers Association, and a member of this organisation's National Executive, and a Senior Associate of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia.

Lyndon Walker

Lecturer, Unitec Business School, Unitec New Zealand
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand


Ref: L08P0375