This web-based package does a very complete range of statistical calculations designed to be user friendly. Formerly known as WebStat, it provides statistical calculation functions that would be done in most introductory statistics courses. Notable examples include being able to create histograms, pie charts and boxplots, calculation of summary statistics and confidence intervals, and performing hypothesis tests. It allows data to be entered in a spreadsheet style data window or opened from a file. Cost is $5 for 6 months and $8 for 12 months, and it does require a login. Key Word: Calculator.
Type of Material:
Data analysis software package.
This software can be used to conduct statistical analysis in laboratory settings or out of class.
This software runs in a Java window on most platforms. It requires an internet connection throughout its use. Some users may need to update their Java engine.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Using StatCrunch will allow students to interactively examine data.
Target Student Population:
Students in introductory statistics classes.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
No particular prerequisites. However, it does not have explanations of the meaning of the various statistical terms and techniques, but assumes that the students know the name and meaning of the quantity they want to compute or the graph they are preparing.
Evaluation and Observation
This is an easy-to-use, well designed low cost statistics software package. It is menu driven and provides a very wide range of analysis tools. It appears to have correct computations and the presentations of results are in correct language/symbols.
The software is limited only to the most widely used topics in introductory statistics courses. It does not allow for writing of scripts or macros which might be required for more advanced applications. Also missing from this software are more advanced techniques that would be found in second courses in statistics such as factorial ANOVA or logistic regression, although many of these features are to appear in the 4.0 version.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This software can give students the ability to interactively work with data. Its web based nature can eliminate the need for installation of additional software, which often leads to a large number of issues and additional costs.
Also available in this software are many popular data sets. Instructors can quickly develop assignments based on these data sets.
The primary drawback as a teaching tool is that it doesn't provide some features that help students see conceptual ties. For example, several commercial packages use animation to help students understand what is happening during a simulation.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This program is menu driven and ready to use "right out of the box." Students can be sent to the site with minimal instructions.
As with all Java based programs there are questions of appropriate version of Java plug-ins. A possible addition that may improve student usability might be a FAQ page to help trouble shoot problems with Java. Instructors with very large courses might also be concerned with overload of the StatCrunch servers although it has recently moved to an upgraded server.