Data simulation user comments ....
· I like how this supplements what students experience during our labs. Most of
our traditional lab activities focus on the acquisition of data. These computer
simulations help students give more attention to the planning and
analysis/interpretation of experimental data.
· For college-level students these simulations provide a realistic exposure to the
expected variability in experimental data. Some other simulations just draw a
neat line to represent a relationship, which tends to give an artificial view of
· Being able to edit the on-screen descriptions helped me customize the
simulations according to the emphasis I like to use in my class.
· The variability in data produced by the simulation was a nice touch, although
general trends could still be observed. In one system, I felt there was too much
variability. So I used the instructor edit feature, reduced the magnitude of the
standard deviation, and now the simulated data have less variability. In some
simulations I have students (after running a simulation) look up the original
literature, and compare its experimental data to the simulated data in terms of
general treads and the amount of variation.
· This simulation package has motivated us to modify a few labs that consumed a
lot of both student and instructor time, and did little more than provide a demo of
a commonly known relationship. By letting the computer generate the data,
students can focus on analysis and interpretation of the results. We can also
compare the response of several different species, with somewhat different
· Thanks for the customized simulation you developed for us. This resulted from a
long-term student & faculty research project, and now all students in our
introductory biology course can run a computer simulation based upon
understandings developed by individuals on our campus.
· Having several variables with most systems results in a great variety of potential
hypothesis testing situations. Sometimes I suggest an appropriate hypothesis,
and other times I let students formulate their own hypothesis to be tested. In
traditional data-gathering labs this is less likely to be practical.
· I like the feature of using simple t-tests within the program to compare mean
· After students had run several data simulations they seemed better prepared to
deal with lab data from a related experimental situation. I didn't even hear the
annoying "did I get the right answer" question.