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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dynamic Data in the Statistics Classroom


The call for using real data in the classroom has long meant using datasets which are culled, cleaned, and wrangled prior to any student working with the observations. However, an important part of teaching statistics should include actually retrieving data from the Internet. Nowadays, there are many different sources of data that are continually updated by the organization hosting the data website. The R tools to download such dynamic data have improved in such a way to make accessing the data possible even in an introductory statistics class. We provide five full analyses on dynamic data as well as an additional nine sources of dynamic data that can be brought into the classroom. The goal of our work is to demonstrate that using dynamic data can have a short learning curve, even for introductory students or faculty unfamiliar with the landscape. The examples provided are unlikely to create expert data scrapers, but they should help motivate students and faculty toward more engaged use of online data sources.

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