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Peer Review

Rice Virtual Lab in Statistics

by David Lane


Overall Rating:

4.9 stars
Content Quality: 4.9 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.9 stars
Reviewed: Sep 10, 2004 by Teacher Education
Overview: The material covers the basics of an introductory statistics class. The site
includes interactive text material, case studies, simulations and numerous
links. Topics covered
include Analysis of Variance, Boxplot, Confidence interval, Contrast among
means, Correlated t-test, Correlation, Histogram, Independent groups t-test,
Regression, Repeated measures ANOVA, and t-test. The applets in the
simulations/demonstrations are in the public domain and can therefore be used
without restriction. Simulations and demonstrations and source code are
available for download.
Learning Goals: After studying the material, individuals will have a basic understanding of
elementary statistics, including descriptive statistics, inferential statistics,
hypothesis testing, analysis of variance and correlation.
Target Student Population: The site is best suited for elementary statistics students, probably
undergraduates or masters degree candidates needing a background in statistics.

Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basis understanding of mathematics/algebra is helpful. This site starts with
the most basic statistical concepts.
Type of Material: Tutorial and reference materials for students and instructors.
Recommended Uses: This site could be an excellent supplement to a research methods course in which
students may need basic background in statistics or as a supplemental "text"
for students in a statistics clss.

This material can be used in four ways:
1. Demonstrations during class lectures.
2. Homework with review and excerises to provide the user practice.
3. Use of cases for independent practice of new knowledge and skills.
4. Assist the viewer in analysis of data for simple research projects.
Technical Requirements: In order to fully access all elements of this site, the viewer may need to
download a program that allows their computer to unzip files (Stuffit Expander).
There is a trial version of this program available (link for downloading is
provided), but in order to fully utilize and for future utilization, purchasing
of the program must be made at a cost depending on the platform you will use
(mac, windows, linux). Java is also needed.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.9 stars
Strengths: The material masses written descriptions of basic statistical concepts along
with visual demonstrations of that concept into one on-line tutorial. The
material contains simulations and demonstrations for both the student and an
instructor that gives a visual demonstration of the concept and further explains
the concept. This reviewer found this to be extremely useful from both an
instruction point, but also as a learning activity.
Practice excerises are provided for each of the statistical concepts in the
package along with a section of Cases that provide independent practice for the
student to develop "ownership" of the information.
The site is well designed with a consistend format that makes navigation easy.
Embeded within ghe narriative of the site are "hotlinks" for tems and
demonstrations that expand the viewers knowldge.
The information provided along with the excerises are consistent with current
text for beginning statistics and research.
Concerns: Some of the material is a bit confusing and includes terms and vocabulary which
may frustrate students.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This reviewer sees this material as a very useful teaching tool. It can be used
as a "workbook" for basis statistics classes. It can also be used as a review
for the learner and for those students who may have missed a class. The
excerises and cases can be assigned for independent practice.
This site also allows the viewer to enter data and to receive an analysis of the
data for use in research projects.

Very helpful interactive support.

Concerns: The reviewers cautions the users of this learning object about thinking that
this site will replace the traditional/on-line interaction of a class between
the instructor and student.
Many of the very important neuances of that interaction will be lost if this is
the only source used for learning statistics and statistical analysis.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.9 stars
Strengths: This material is easy to use. Consistent layout and design make navigation
easy. Embedded links, when activated, do not cover the entire screen thus
giving the viewer a sense of comfort that they are not lost. There is a "close
window" feature that lets the viewer return to the page they were on. This
lessens the possibility that the viewer can "get lost" in a site and have to get
out of the site and start over.
Java program required for full use of the site.
Concerns: This viewer could not fully use the Analysis Lab feature because a Java applett
feature was not on the computer used for viewing this material. The message
gives was "the internet browser does not allow an applet communicate with
clipboard. Please try to use keyborad "Copy" or "Paste" command to copy date in
or paste date out of this "Enter Data" frame. If keyboard commands do not work
and you want to copy or paste date, please follow the instructions to change
your local java.policy file." This may be a "turnoff" to some users.

Other Issues and Comments: