In this course, I'm asking you to find websites, news articles, and other online resources relevant to this course and bookmark them using one of a couple of social bookmarking tools: Diigo and Pinterest. What's social bookmarking? The idea is that instead of saving an interesting website as a bookmark or "favorite" in your Web browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.), you save the website to your Diigo or Pinterest account. Then you can...
- Access the bookmark from any Web browser and any computer (not just the Web browser you were using when you saved the site),
- Make the bookmark publicly available so that others who are interested in the things that interest you can see it, and
- Assign one or more “tags” to the bookmark to categorize it so you can more easily find it later.
The ideas and tools of statistics and data analysis are used in so many different areas, both within and outside of engineering, that there's no way we can cover every application in a single course. Bookmarking examples of data visualization and data analysis through Diigo or Pinterest and sharing those examples with the class is useful for three reasons:
- Doing so helps you make connections between the content of this course and other interests of yours, both academic and personal.
- By sharing examples of statistics in action with the course, you’re enriching the learning experience for all of us (including me) in the class.
- Later in the semester, you'll be asked to complete an application project in which you apply the statistical techniques from this course to some "real-world" problem. The collection of examples the class generates through social bookmarking will provide you with lots of potential topics for this project.
Stay tuned for specific social bookmarking assignments throughout the semester. For now, check out your two options, Diigo and Pinterest, and decide which one you'd like to use. Diigo has a "group" feature that will come in handy for sharing and commenting on links. Pinterest's strong point is its emphasis on images, which will be useful for sharing data visualization examples.
In my next two blog posts, I'll walk you through the process of using both tools. Please go ahead and select a tool and create an account. And you're welcome to start bookmarking things in advance of the first bookmarking assignment. If you need help, just ask.
Image: "Manicule," Leo Reynolds, Flickr (CC)