The Toolkit for an Interactive Learning Environment (TILE) project, initiated at Berkeley, involves both the design and implementation of a new style of interactive educational modules for teaching introductory statistics for in a multi-media environment. Rather than using the computer to teach statistical procedures and formulae directly, the focus is on involving the student in statistical reasoning. The role of the statistical procedures is to to allow the student to explore and justify their thoughts. Numerous labs have been designed covering different aspects of the basic introductory statistics courses. 3 of these labs will be implemented by the 2nd quarter of 1998. These are:
- investigating a selection of experiments that are described in newspapers and journals to understand the ideas of bias, controls, randomization, populations,
- identifying relationships between variables and confounding factors in different contexts such as birth weight. The student gathers different types of information (statistical and non-statistical) from numerous sources in a virtual hospital and uses plots, cross-tabs and intuition.
- probability models and hypothesis testing using the basic idea of a sampler. The student controls a particular random process and then creates a sampler that models the distribution of outcomes. The empirical distribution is created by the student. This same idea is extended to explore hypothesis testing.
These labs are being implemented using the Java based toolkit being developed as part of this project. The toolkit provides a flexible and customizable set of classes that are used to create each lab. These provide a consistent interface both to the user and developer/instructor team and can be glued together relatively simply to create new labs. Most of the time developing a new lab is spent in creating non-programmed input files which govern the behavior of the objects in the toolkit (e.g. the animation, text and hints, quizzes, colors, fonts, etc.) This can be done by instructors focusing on the pedagogical content rather than on the programming language. The toolkit is context-free in the sense that it can be used in domains other than statistics.
The design of the labs has been primarily completed by Professor Deborah Nolan at U.C. Berkeley. The implementation of the toolkit is being done by Duncan Temple Lang at Bell Labs.
Duncan Temple Lang<firstname.lastname@example.org> Last modified: Mon Nov 24 15:30:14 EST 1997