Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Better Statkey

        Going into this quarter, I had some different ideas for products to work on, but it wasn't until shortly into the the class that Mr. Pethan gave me the idea that has consumed me for many many weeks.  We use Statkey on a daily basis in all of our core modules and even for our projects, but I see a major problem with it; the experience is too separated.  You need to navigate from page to page copying and pasting your data back and forth only to have 3 or 4 tabs open just to get all of your information.  This is coupled by the lack of data recognition; if you don't know what type of data you have, you are left guessing what to do with it.  Also, Statkey is a powerful resource that can be very easily manipulated.  Since it does all of the work for you, when it comes to exams, you might lose what this course is all about, knowing how to analyze statistical data.  

        This is where I decided to create my own version of Statkey, which I have called "Data Window" as of now.  By going to the main page of the site, you are presented with an open window to put your data into.

From here you can enter in your data just like Statkey, except you don't have to specify which type of data you are entering.  The algorithms decide which type of information you have entered, and then navigates you to the specific page based on the variables entered.  On this page you are presented with all of the information that was separated on Statkey.  For example, on the 1 quantitative variable page, you see the histogram, boxplot, confidence interval, and hypothesis test graphs with an ever-present dotplot to always know what your data is.  Here is a snippet of the page, which is still a work in progress:

You can see the tabs in which you can easily switch between the graphs that you care about, and the data is kept so you don't have to refresh the page or load new pages.  This along with tools that allow administrators to choose just how much information is displayed on each page allows for a true learning experience.  For example, while everyone is still learning about the unit and exploring how the site interprets the data, they will have access to all of the features, and when taking a test, certain settings could be disabled, such as direct page navigation or not displaying all of the graphs completely.

        Although I have made a lot of progress on this project and I think that it has some very cool features, I am by no means close to being finished with it.  I haven't even really focused on other types of input, such as 2 categorical or 2 quantitative, but since I have more knowledge of the framework and its implementation, this will not take long.  But for now I have focused on making the experience of just 1 quantitative variable as nice as it can be.  Once this is complete I will move onto the other sites and the tools to go along with it.  Kudos to Mr. Pethan for giving me such a great idea and hopefully I will make it a usable tool for future classes.

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