Full Abstract Details

Statistics Online Computational Resource

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Project TypePhase 2/Type 2 - Expansion
Target DisciplineInterdisciplinary
Project FocusCreating Learning Materials and Teaching Strategies
NameDinov, Ivo
DepartmentStatistics Department
Phone Number310-825-8430
E-mail Addressdinov@stat.ucla.edu
Goals & Intended Outcome

The overarching goal of the Statistics Online Computational Resource (SOCR) is to design, validate and freely disseminate knowledge. Specifically, SOCR provides portable online resources for probability and statistics education, technology based instruction and statistical computing.

Methods & Strategies

SOCR employs modern information, technology, networking and pedagogical resources to design, validate, and widely disseminate web-based interactive applets, computational and graphing tools, instructional and course materials.

Evaluation Methods & Results

We use a 2-tier mechanism for evaluation of all SOCR materials — experimental designs of pedagogical efficacy (comparison between control and SOCR-treatment groups), and infrastructure utilization metrics (citations, server-utilization, diversity of users, SOCR awards and recognitions, course utilization and volume of trainees).


SOCR motto is: “It’s online, therefore it Exists!” This implies that all SOCR applets, learning materials, publications, tutorials, hands-on activities and instructional resources are always openly accessible online via one of the 6 complementary SOCR servers (http://wiki.stat.ucla.edu/socr/index.php/SOCR_Servers).


SOCR materials and resources are peer-reviewed and included in dozens of international digital resource libraries (http://www.socr.ucla.edu/htmls/SOCR_Recognitions.html). There are 2 SOCR mirror servers (ASA and PhyResearch.org). SOCR tools and materials are included in 3 EBooks and 7 print-only textbooks (http://wiki.stat.ucla.edu/socr/index.php/SOCR_Books). Since 2005, SOCR resources have been utilized by over 2.5 million (daily-unique) users.


There were 2 types of unexpected challenges we encountered: resource usability and technology extendability and interoperability. The resource usability problems are typically reported by outside learners, educators and investigators. These are prioritized and addressed in an ad hoc fashion. Technological challenges related to the rapid growth of the SOCR resources, and the advent of novel IT tools, often require resource redesign, abstraction and refactoring to ensure SOCR materials and computational libraries are efficiently accessible by machine- and human-interfaces.

Expected Outcomes

• Increased student comprehension (validated by two independent control-based experimental studies)
• Increased utilization of SOCR learning materials in the classroom
• Improved motivation and interactive hands-on engagement of all learners
• A diverse, extensible, collaborative, open-source development and open-dissemination computational libraries (http://SOCR.googlecode.com)
• Multilingual and multidisciplinary learning materials freely available over the internet (http://SOCR.ucla.edu)
• Interactive graphical navigation of all SOCR resources (over 1,000 tools, activities and learning materials)

Data Impact

• Number of users (>3.1 M as of 12/31/2010)
• Number of known SOCR-supported courses (≥25)
• Number of SOCR Publications (≥15)
• Number of textbook referencing SOCR resources (≥9)

Collection Methods

• IRB approved studies of student comprehension and knowledge retention
• Anonymous surveys
• Peer reviews
• Student evaluations
• Standard quantitative assessment (exams, quizzes, homeworks)

Key Findings

• We discovered that SOCR-treatment had a statistically significant effect in improving student’s quantitative performance compared to traditional pedagogical approaches
• In utilizing SOCR technology-enhanced instructional materials, online computational tools and learning activities, students’ experiences are significantly improved, and their attitudes toward the discipline of probability and statistics education, is overwhelmingly positive
• The multidisciplinary science educational community embraces open-source and collaborative development, validation and dissemination of IT-blended resources.

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