Content Quality Concerns:
The software is limited only to the most widely used topics in introductory statistics courses. It does not allow for writing of scripts or macros which might be required for more advanced applications. Also missing from this software are more advanced techniques that would be found in second courses in statistics such as factorial ANOVA or logistic regression, although many of these features are to appear in the 4.0 version.
Content Quality Strengths:
This is an easy-to-use, well designed free statistics software package. It is menu driven and provides a very wide range of analysis tools. It appears to have correct computations and the presentations of results are in correct language/symbols.
Ease of Use Concerns:
As with all Java based programs there are questions of appropriate version of Java plug-ins. A possible addition that may improve student usability might be a FAQ page to help trouble shoot problems with Java. Instructors with very large courses might also be concerned with overload of the StatCrunch servers although it has recently moved to an upgraded server.
Ease of Use Strengths:
This program is menu driven and ready to use "right out of the box." Students can be sent to the site with minimal instructions.
Potential Effectiveness Concerns:
The primary drawback as a teaching tool is that it doesn't provide some features that help students see conceptual ties. For example, several commercial packages use animation to help students understand what is happening during a simulation.
Potential Effectiveness Strengths:
This software can give students the ability to interactively work with data. Its web based nature can eliminate the need for installation of additional software, which often leads to a large number of issues and additional costs. Also available in this software are many popular data sets. Instructors can quickly develop assignments based on these data sets.