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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Statistical Home Page

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

3.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 3 stars
Reviewed: Oct 04, 2010 by Statistics Editorial Board
Overview: Home page of author for several texts. Site includes solutions and data file for texts, lecture suggestions and notes, a glossary and links to other glossaries, applets, bootstrapping and randomization test explanations and freeware programs to run some basic tests.
Learning Goals: Basic statistics concepts for introductory course, Distributions of t and F, How to graph interactions, Normal probability calculator, Testing null hypothesis, Correlation, Heterogeneous subsamples
Target Student Population: Introductory-level, especially an introductory graduate-level or social sciences course. Would work well for students needing a basic introduction to bootstrapping and randomization tests, and students needing additional help with ANOVA.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None, although some concepts (like Bootstrapping) are more sophisticated than others.
Type of Material: Collection of applets, tutorial and philosophy of bootstrapping and randomization tests, reference material
Recommended Uses: Instructors could use this in lesson planning. Lecture notes are written in a narrative style, so a student could easily read through them independently of a class.
Technical Requirements: Author notes that Windows XP was used to create some of the files and some have noted that the zip files may have problems. Need Flash installed.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: This website is a library of resources collected over a long career by a now-retired professor. Narrative-style lecture notes, labs, glossary, SPSS instructions, exams, schedule, links to data sets and other statistics sites, tutorial for Bootstrapping, etc. Very helpful collection, obviously put together with careful thought over many years.
Concerns: The organization is _so poor_ that I had trouble getting back to pages two days after I initially worked and read through them. The site seeks to do too much to make it immediately useful to either a student or an instructor.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: There are so many great resources here, especially for other teachers, but also for students. The students would probably be most interested in the lectures because they are so thorough and easily readable.
Concerns: The web site is extensive. Pieces of it could be good, but since it is so large the following are concerns: It is not easy to write assignments for, it cannot be readily integrated into a statistics course or curriculum, it does not promotes and/or use effective learning strategies, it does not seem to help develop critical thinking skills, it is not meant to promote student discovery, and it's not clear if learning can be readily assessed. There aren’t necessarily a lot of activities a student could jump right in and try, but that’s not the intention of this site.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: Many of the applets (buried in the section labeled Fundamentals Book) are similar to applets that are currently indexed and better adapted for classroom use. The randomization and bootstrapping sections are good. This is an easily-navigable website. It hasn’t been updated in several years, but it is not the type of site that necessarily has to be updated frequently. The author warns that perhaps not all the links have content attached, but I did not find any broken links. The design is not fancy or high-tech, but it is straightforward and clean.
Concerns: A substantial amount of the web page is meant to be supplemental material for courses or texts the author wrote or was teaching. Redesign of the VERY useful randomization and bootstrapping portion would render this a useful contribution. However, the short and sweet programs are difficult to find and currently not well documented (through trial and error I determined the maximum number of data points for allowed to bootstrap a mean) The lack of ease of use of the web site means that I would hesitate to recommend the web site. I might sift through the material and give specific URLs to students so that they could use some of the material on the site.

Other Issues and Comments: The organization of the material means that finding the gems requires substantial sifting. However, there are great resources here, especially for statistics educators. The author was very generous to share his collection with the rest of us.