Free Open Source Tools for teaching and learning science, methods, and statistics online
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Psy 3000 | Online Statistics
Statistics for Social & Behavioral Science
The Most Innovative Online Statistics Course on the Web

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To USE RESOURCES in a class on your own server and to record student performance to a database,
contact Jake at
Virtual Lab, Detect Difference, and Difference to Inference require JAVA plugin).
• To READ JOURNAL PUBLICATIONS about these learning resources click here.

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Utah Virtual Lab: Teachers create a reality and students discover its principles
GO! Detect Difference Game: Learn about Treatment Effects
GO! Difference to Inference Game: Practice Logical Thinking in Science
GO! Homework, Quiz & Exam Applet: Teacher-authored and computer-graded
GO! Visual ANOVA: Get the big picture about Analysis of Variance
GO! Power Tool: Visualize how alpha, beta, and power interact
GO! Normal Probability Tool: Simplifies learning to find normal probabilities
GO! OPEN Open-source Learning Managment System; freely available (GNU Public License)
GO! Nonlinear Dynamic Systems: An alternative framework to the linear statistical model



UTAH VIRTUAL LAB. The Utah online Virtual Lab is a JAVA program run dynamically off a database. Instructors author a statistical virtual reality simulating theories and data in a specific research focus area by defining independent, predictor, and dependent variables and the relations among them. Students work in an online virtual environment to discover the principles of this simulated reality: they go to a library, read theoretical overviews and scientific puzzles, and then go to a lab, design a study, collect and analyze data, and write a report. A student's design and data analysis decisions are computer-graded and recorded in a database; the written research report can be read by the instructor or by other students in peer groups simulating scientific conventions.
There are two versions of the Utah Virtual Lab, one for Internet Explorer, one for Netscape (see links below).

Please read this tutorial before clicking on one of the two Virtual Lab links below. This printable HTML lecture gives screen-by-screen instructions that will get you started using Virtual Lab's tools. We highly recommend that first-time users print out and follow along with this tutorial as they explore the Utah Virtual Lab. The Lab is very open in the choices it gives a user, so the tutorial cannot cover all possible choices you might make, but it includes enough examples to support your further explorations.

Click here after you have read the tutorial (or before you have read the tutorial of you are adventurous). Enter the lab, go up the stairs and select some library books (recommend the books on the upper left side), read some basic literature, select a research project and go on into the lab to do research.

Detect Difference is an online JAVA game simulating a simple two group study in which researchers treat the two groups differently. Using data, the player-scientists must answer the basic scientific question, "How can I tell from the data whether there is a treatment effect?" The game is supported by an online lecture on sampling theory that explains how that basic scientific question can be framed and answered in terms of samples drawn from populations. There are also online instructions for game play. Detect Difference has database connectivity so that game scores can be counted as part of course grades. No other assignments are necessary.

Difference to Inference is an online JAVA program simulating theory testing and falsification through research design and data collection in a game format. The program, based on cognitive and epistemological principles, is designed to support the learning of thinking skills underlying deductive and inductive logic and statistical reasoning. Difference to Inference has database connectivity so that game scores can be counted as part of course grades.

This JAVA Applet can be used to evaluate student performance online for any content authored by a teacher. It has Oracle database connectivity so that student scores are automatically recorded. As an example, this link takes you to menu of choices which allow you to see how this JAVA Applet works when a teacher uses it to evaluate performance in a statistics course. The authoring tool is not shown here; To USE THIS APPLET in a class, to obtain the authoring tool and to record student performance on a database, contact or

Story Problems. This Applet allows a teacher the option to write several story problems, each of which can apply to a series of questions.

Immediate Feedback. Students receive two types of immediate feedback on each answer they make. 1) They immediately get "Thumbs Up" or "Thumbs Down" as to whether their answer was correct. 2) They also receive (at the teacher's option) verbal feedback about what the nature of the correct answer was and how to arrive at it.

Types of Questions: This applet allows a teacher to author several types of questions. 1) Verbal Multiple Choice (student choose which one of several phrases is correct); 2) Visual Multiple Choice (student chooses which one of several images is correct); 3) Verbal Multiple Select (student chooses as many verbal phrases as are correct; 4) Visual Multiple Select (student chooses as many pictures as are correct); 5) Fill in the blank with words; 6) Fill in the blank with numbers.

Two Randomization Features. Two Randomization Features are intended to allow students to re-do assignments several times without the trivial outcome that they write down the answer to each question sequence and then type in those answers next time through without even reading the questions. 1) Multiple choice questions allow one correct answer and up to three distracters. Each time the Applet is opened, it will randomize where on the list of options (a, b, c, or d) the correct answer will appear. This means that the correct answer must be chosen by reading and understanding both the question and the options. 2) Teachers can establish blocks of questions and then, within a block, randomize the order in which questions appear. [3) A third randomization feature is under development. This feature will allow numerical problems to be based on different, randomly sampled numbers each time the Applet is opened.]


Visual Anova is a Flash Move which demonstrates visually how variability between and within experimental groups contributes to the F ratio. It is not a numerical calculator; rather it visually and holistically demonstrates the relations among important concepts. Visual ANOVA is supported by online instructions and by an extensive online lecture explaining the theory behind the Analysis of Variance. The online lecture is supported by two types of assignments: 1) Online computer-graded homework, and 2) A pdf file that gives students the opportunity to do handwritten homework problems with answer keys.

Power Tool is a Flash Movie visually demonstrating the relations among alpha, beta, and power using the binomial distribution. At this time Power Tool has no online support; it has no instructions nor is there a lecture explaining the theory behind alpha, beta, and power. But with an instructor's support, Power Tool can give students useful visual experience with the relations among alpha, beta, and power without having to engage in computations or consult tables.

A simple-to-use JAVA applet that finds Normal probabilities. Simply set mu, sigma, upper and lower scores. Normal Tool shows the area under the curve along with the probability. Detailed online instructions are included. Optional web lecture on the Normal Probability Distribution is also included.


The functions listed here run best and have been tested on Firefox but also run on Safari and IE. The Visual ANOVA and Power Tool require a Macromedia Flash Plugin.

If you would like information or are interested in using any of the functions in teaching, please contact: or

Phone Contact: Jake Jensen at 801-585-6218 for information on how to mount software on your own server
and how to connect the tools to grade books on database software.