The Institute of Education invited Dr. Thomas J. Smith from Northern Illinois University to teach a course in Research in Advanced Statistics in Education at NSYSU
Dr. Smith has been teaching at NIU since 2000. His effort and success in teaching earned him NIU’s recognition with a Presidential Teaching Professorship Award. He specializes in statistics in education and research methods in education. At the Institute of Education, NSYSU, he teaches Research in Advanced Statistics in Education, a graduate course fully taught in English, attended by about 20 graduate students, who are evaluated thoroughly and regularly. The course includes such topics as linear regression, generalized linear model, structural equation model, and multilevel linear modeling. The students do not need to buy any software nor textbooks: the course utilizes a statistics software R free-of-charge for the students to learn data analysis abilities and knowledge of statistics for educational research.
For an even greater benefit of the students, Dr. Thomas Smith gave a lecture on “A set of TIMSS regression studies” to share how to conduct research on international education issues using secondary data analysis and proved that it is not necessary to collect data by oneself when doing research. Dr. Thomas J. Smith also recommended other major databases: ICPSR, OECD, and Pew Research Center. Graduate student of the Institute of Education Pai-Hsien Hu said that TIMSS and PISA are two widely discussed databases in the past years, in which new records have been attracting a lot of attention. These databases have also been used for reference by graduate students. “This lecture helped me to understand what experts pay attention to when analyzing big data”.
Dr. Thomas Smith observed that the students in Taiwan are more reticent, whereas American students are more vocal. He also noticed that the Taiwanese students are very focused in class, show a lot of learning autonomy, and take responsibility for themselves. Dr. Smith enjoys the process of working with the students on several research projects because he can feel their intrinsic interest in their studies. Dr. Thomas Smith encourages all students to observe, reflect on, and participate in academic research and read research papers published in international journals. “Education opens a lot of doors”, he says. He motivates master students to apply for a doctoral program as early in life as they can, because “the more education you get, the more opportunities will await you”.
The Institute of Education and the Center for Teacher Education, NSYSU, closely collaborate with the College of Education, NIU. Previously, Dr. Thomas Smith came to NSYSU in 2016 and 2018 to join the International Conference of Taiwan Education organized by Taiwan Education Research Association, and this time he was invited to teach a course at NSYSU by Director of the Institute of Education Professor Hsueh-Hua Chuang. Professor Chuang pointed out that internationalization has been one of the main development directions of NSYSU, prioritizing the improvement of international academic and research competitiveness. The Institute of Education has already signed an agreement on the dual-degree program with Ghent University in Belgium. The Institute of Education and the International Graduate Program of Education and Human Development signed letters of intent concerning joint double-degree programs with Hamburg University in Germany, and mutually-agreed educational or research programs with Purdue University in the USA, and are planning to sign an agreement on the dual-degree program with NIU’s College of Education and give NSYSU students more opportunities to study abroad.