3.1 Basic characteristics of students
As shown in Table 2, juniors (about 92.48%) accounted for the majority. All the students were from four-year, five-year, eight-year academic programs. Students in clinical medicine made up the largest proportion (57.33%), followed by those in pharmacy (15.14%) and pediatrics (10.38%). The proportion of female students (56.86%) was slightly higher than that of male students (43.14%).
Most students chose “Average” (55.52%, 63.14%) or "Good" (31.24%, 26.48%) when they were asked to self-assess their mathematical knowledge and logical thinking. When they were asked to self-assess their computer knowledge, 595 (56.67%) chose “Average”, 235 (22.38%) chose “Fair”, and only 141 (13.43%) chose “Good” or “Excellent”.
3.2 Attitude towards statistics
As shown in Figure 2, except those answering by “I am interested in the course of medical statistics”, the distributions of the answers to the other four questions were nearly the same, with “Agree” and “Strongly Agree” accounting for more than 70%. As to questions “Medical statistics is useful to my major scientific research” and “Mastering the use of a statistical software is very helpful to my work/scientific research”, “Agree” and “Strongly Agree” accounted for more than 80%, indicating that these students knew the importance of MS in scientific research. Another 600 students (57.14%) held a neutral view of “I am interested in the course of medical statistics.” Therefore, efforts should be made to enhance their interests in MS.
3.3 Learning status
(1) Pre-class preview
The students’ pre-class learning efficiency was not ideal. As shown in Figure 3, most students reported to have occasional pre-class preview (70.38%), and the preview time was less than 30 minutes (79.81%). Reading textbooks and watching online videos were two commonest preview ways, chosen by 71.14% and 27.62% of the total students, respectively. A small number of students chose “classmate discussion” (13 students, 1.24%); 881 students (83.9%) responded that the preview was "somewhat helpful" for class learning, while 54 students (5.14%) responded that it was "not helpful". Therefore, it needs teachers to guide pre-class preparation before online teaching.
(2) Attending class
Most students could accomplish the course online (69.24%), and most students had taken notes (90.74%). To be specific, 41.14% of the students had “occasionally watched the video (such as: watching the video only to complete the learning task, playing the course video but not watching it)”. It implied that, during online learning, the students may not be fully devoted themselves to the courses; thus the teachers should maintain students’ attention through efforts like proposing questions, asking students to answer questions immediately, and assigning homework. Online learning terminals and websites are shown in Figure 4. Most students believed that the existing network, usually WIFI (82.86%), can guarantee the online learning. Laptop and mobile phone were the most used terminals (71.14%, 61.14%, respectively).
(3) After-class review
In after-class learning, 90.0% of the students said that they would review after class, and 92.67% could finish the homework within half an hour after class. However, teacher-student interaction was insufficient, as reflected by only 15% of students communicating with teachers regularly. Regarding the use of statistical software, 885 students (84.29%) said that they had never used any statistical software, while 55 (5.24%) and 38 (3.62%) students had used STATA and R, respectively.
3.4 Student evaluation
The result of “diligence in this semester” deserves our attention: 68.95% of students thought their diligence in this semester was “Average”, while 11.14% thought they had no intention at all. In terms of “grade requirements for the course”, 35.24% and 57.71% of the students evaluated themselves as “Excellent and Pretty good” and “Good”, respectively, while 6.95% as “Not bad”. This is a big difference between students’ expected performance sand the performances achieved by their diligence, indicating that the students’ motivation should be enhanced in the online MS class.
As for the “knowledge of medical statistics”, 70.67% responded with moderate and 17.24% as poor. The proportion of students with a good mastery has a negative association to the difficulty of the chapters. For example, these proportions were 81.71%, 79.43% and 71.14% in regard to three easy chapters "statistical description", "normal distribution" and "sampling error"; and 64.67%, 61.14%, 57.43% in regard to three difficulty chapters "chi-square test", "t test" and "rank sum test", respectively. In the evaluation of “level of communication with teachers and classmates ", 64.95% of the students chose "Good" or "Not bad".
(2) Curriculum evaluation
As shown in Figure 5, most students chose "Good" or "Pretty good" in terms of "video quality" and “the quality of the homework ".This result is basically consistent with that of "satisfied with the current online teaching method" since "relatively satisfied "and" very satisfied” were only reported in 32.77% of the students. To the questions such as "level of teachers", "teacher's teaching attitude", "teaching content structure", "practicality taught in the course", 60% responded with "Pretty good" or "Excellent". For example, 76.38% students responded with "Pretty good" or "Excellent" to the "level of teachers" and 80.57% to the "teacher's teaching attitude". The proportion of students with satisfaction equal to the proportion of those choosing "satisfactory" and "very satisfied".
Nearly 60% of the students rated overall evaluation of the course as "Pretty good" and "Excellent", and 37.81% thought it was "Good". It is worth noting that 893 students (85.05%) preferred "classroom teaching", indicating that the students are not used to pure online learning. The vast majority of students agreed that they needed to consolidate what they had learned after returning to school. Among them, 30.57% thought that it was necessary to "make up the missed lessons and explain them one by one", while 65.81% thought that it was necessary to "focus on some chapters or answer questions". Therefore, these questions should be resolved by after-epidemic classroom teaching.
For "the biggest problem and challenge encountered in online learning", most students chose "learning motivation problem"(59.9%), "personal inertia problem"(58.29%) and "solving difficult problems"(43.05%). A considerable number of students had problems in "learning resources", "platform issues" and "network issues” too. In addition, 267 (25.43%) students felt barriers between the teacher-student interactions, indicating that a good interaction was not established in online teaching.