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1G: Life on an Island: Using a Virtual World to Make Statistics Real

With Ann Brearley and Laura Le (University of Minnesota)


This session will introduce participants to “The Islands”, a virtual world developed by Dr. Michael Bulmer at the University of Queensland1. Rather than using a class project where students re-analyze data collected by others, “The Islands” simulation allows students to come up with their own research question, design and carry out a study, and collect and analyze their own data to address their own question. In the first part of the session, participants will explore “The Islands” on their own computer and carry out a small pilot study on the Islanders. In the second part of the session, Ann and Laura will describe the various ways “The Islands” have been used by us and others at the University of Minnesota. This includes projects for different audience levels (i.e., undergraduates and graduate students) and for a variety of courses (i.e., introductory biostatistical methods, biostatistical literacy, clinical trials, correlated data, and statistical consulting). The session will close with participants discussing the benefits and potential obstacles/challenges to implementing use of “The Islands” in their own courses. 1Michael Bulmer and J. Kimberly Haladyn (2011). “Life on an Island: A Virtual Population to Support Student Projects in Statistics”, Technology Innovations in Statistics Education (TISE) 5(1).

Please bring your laptop or tablet to the session.