Report: CIS Sandbox makes people smarter

Okay…the headline might be embellished just a little. We cannot prove that the Sandbox makes people smarter. On the other hand, what we can prove is that visiting the Sandbox has a (statistically) significant impact on students’ IT 101 SAM assignment grades. Don’t believe us? Check this out:

That is the presentation that accompanied the project that Mengxi, Vinay, and I have been working on this semester for our CS 753 Data Warehousing and Data Mining class. The goal of the project was to explore the relationship between students’ visits to the CIS Sandbox and their grades. Don’t worry, though! Throughout the process, we disassociated any students’ identities from their grades. The results?

Well, like I said, coming to the Sandbox makes people smarter…or, rather, visiting the Sandbox has a positive impact on students’ IT 101 SAM assignment grades. To a certain point, that is. We ran a linear regression with students’ 7th SAM assignment grades as the dependent variable and their grades on assignments 3-6 and number of visits to the Sandbox as the independent variables. It turns out that, on average, based on our data set, each visit to the Sandbox would lead to an expected increase in the student’s grade on assignment 7 of about half a point.

In other words, if you come to the Sandbox 200 times and do nothing else next semester, you’ll get a 100 on your 7th SAM assignment next semester!

(Okay, no, not really…everyone will learn about how regression models work in their statistics courses here at Bentley.)

What we believe is that after a certain number of visits (which varies from person to person), there is not much else a student can learn. It’s a good example of the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility (you’ll learn this in EC 111, by the way), which states that with each subsequent use of a good or service, the person receives less and less marginal (i.e. extra) utility. For us, that means that after a certain point, we can’t really help you anymore with your assignments. We’ve taught you everything there is to know. Yet, some people still come back…

Which is awesome! In our opinion, that is a testament to how well the Sandbox is doing. If students return just to study on their own or work on their group projects, we feel like we’ve done our jobs. We have provided you a comfortable place in which to do your work. Excuse us for one second as we pat ourselves on the back.

So, come to the CIS Sandbox, and we’ll help you with any question you may have. And then come back, even if you don’t have any questions, because we’d love to see you here again!

We would like to thank Mark Frydenberg, our esteemed boss (and fearless leader), for sponsoring our project and guiding us throughout the process; Professor Bill VanderClock, for supporting us and putting in a ton of effort to help facilitate our data cleansing and transfer process; and Karen Hovsepian, for taking charge of that data cleansing process and making sure we had all of the data we needed. We could not have finished the project without you.

Also, for your viewing pleasure, here are some really awkward photos that Mark took of our presentation…enjoy!

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