This week, I learned a lot of statistics and how to actually do statistical analysis! I took a stats class this past winter, and I really did not like it. But now, actually getting to apply concepts like a t-test to real data, they make much more sense and it's actually kind of fun! I spent a few days working on the E14 worksheet and concept inventory data in Excel. I had no idea Excel could do things like a ttest! I first answered the question "Did the worksheets have a significant effect on students' understanding?" to which the answer was YES! The effects were remarkable, since the worksheets only take about 2 minutes to do, but they increased students' scores significantly. I also looked at the question whether the number students got correct varied significantly by class year, but it did not. However, the one interesting thing I found was that the freshmen had significantly lower improvements than everyone else. Since there were very few freshmen, this needs to be investigated further. I then investigated whether a person's previous exposure to the material had a statistically significant impact on both how many they got right on the pre-concept inventory and their total improvement. Neither one had a statistically significant difference, which I thought was odd, since one would naturally assume that if a person had seen the material before in some capacity, they would have a higher score on the pre-concept inventory. But this is just not the case!
I also got SPSS working on my computer, so I am learning how to use a much more sophisticated statistical analysis software package than Excel. I went through the tutorials to learn its basic functions and how to do some basic analysis. I am really glad I'm learning it, it's very useful and will allow me to really find meaningful results. I also had a meeting with Adam, to go over what he did with pre-PEACHES, and I will be diving into to that data next week.
I also worked more on updating this ePortfolio, and creating a portfolio in a new tool called Pathbrite. I made the Pathbrite one specifically about my ME203 project, and I also added my 203 project to this portfolio, so we can compare the platforms and how it displays the same material in each one. I once again realize that the thing I like most about this Digication platform is the ability to just write stories. I re-roganized my "Volunteer work" section, and wrote another story about my being an Orientation Volunteer for the Freshmen orientation week at the beginning of every school year. I updated and added a few more things, like my job as a gymnastics coach and my class list.
I also started on a presentation I will be giving next week to a subset of the reserach team about the PEARS school reports. I am creating all the charts and visuals for the powerpoint slide deck we are making for each school, trying to represent the data in the most meaningful and easy-to-interpret way possible. It is fun experimenting with different kinds of charts and realizing that while pit charts have their place in the world, they are not for everything (I made one epically colorful pie chart, but it was broken into so many slices that it was meaningless). Once we decide which charts we like best, I will be able to create them for every school.
Finally, I read a bunch of ASEE papers. Some were about entreprenurial stuff, which is most relevant to my future work with Epicenter, PEACHES, and some PEARS stuff, and some were just random. I found an interesting paper that researched if how neatly a student wrote out their homework solutions correlated to their understanding of the material (turns out it does!). I also read an interesting paper about ASME's recommendations for the mechanical engineer of 2030 - I got excited because one of the sources referenced was a book Sheri helped write (I feel so cool being able to work with her!). It interestingly recommended that ME split, and not have people do both the thermal and the mechanical side of things. I'm curious if this will ever happen. I also read a paper about ePortfolios that was written by someone I met at the ASEE conference, which was cool!
In terms of the fun stuff, last weekend I went to San Fransisco. I've hung out with friends, watched the movie Up, and settled into having a roommate in a one-room double for the first time. We're going to see Brave tomorrow, which will be fun! I've also practiced longboarding a bit, just going back and forth in a parking lot. And (while NOT fun), I've started thinking about figuring out the rest of my life (at least the immediate future) by registering for the GRE and having a long conversation with one of my mentors.