Analysis of a Social Webquest for Statistics in Engineering

L10 5

Views: 103

  • Title: Analysis of a Social Webquest for Statistics in Engineering
  • Author(s): Irene Epifanio
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Learner
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review
  • Keywords: WebQuest, Education for Equality, Statistics in Engineering, Ethical Values
  • Volume: 17
  • Issue: 5
  • Year: 2010
  • ISSN: 1447-9494 (Print)
  • ISSN: 1447-9540 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Epifanio, Irene. 2010. "Analysis of a Social Webquest for Statistics in Engineering." The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review 17 (5): 269-280. doi:10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v17i05/47069.
  • Extent: 12 pages


A webquest for students of an introductory course in Statistics in Industrial Design Engineering is presented and analyzed. In order to make students work on the most basic concepts (sampling and description of data) and thinking skills, I have designed a webquest [1] where they are critical citizens. The webquest starts with a video from the outstanding series “Against All Odds: Inside Statistics” [2], Program 3, Describing Distributions, which shows how a local government used statistical methods to correct inequality between men’s and women’s salaries in the USA in the 1980’s. Students should investigate the current wage gap, carrying out and analyzing a small survey, and using the official data of the INE (Spanish National Statistics Institute), where one of the variables they should collect and examine is the number of hours devoted to work at home. This webquest is designed to educate students for equality. Students also research a brilliant woman who used statistics to save many lives: Florence Nightingale. The other activities in the webquest also tackle current issues, such as climate change, through ecological footprints, and statistics in daily life, for example in clinical analysis, incorrect use of statistics in the media, or writing a letter to the city council to correct a high water bill based on incorrect water consumption estimates (this activity is based on a true story in which the citizen received a refund). The webquest also has research activities to show the importance of statistics in industrial design, and specifically, in ergonomics. These activities involve the description of relationships: regression line and principal component analysis for the accommodation of pilots in aircraft design [3]. I analyze the data collected from my students about their experience and opinion of the webquest.