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PSPP plug-in for Open Office? Or, some other work-flow?

From: David English
Subject: PSPP plug-in for Open Office? Or, some other work-flow?
Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2009 16:56:58 -0700

Sorry to butt into this list from out in left field, but I just have an
odd question.

We have SPSS installed in our computer labs (which I maintain) and I'm
trying to nudge the faculty over to PSPP, which they don't even want
installed because "it might confuse the students".  The sticking point
is the GUI, or slim availability of charting there-in.

Now, personally, I know little of stats and my SPSS skills include
installing it, licensing it, starting it, and showing students where
they've lost their data.  So, my arguments about doing students a
service by showing them open-source software that they can actually use,
anywhere, instead of teaching proprietary garbage (anything with DRM is
garbage as far as I'm concerned) that the student will have to steal to
use at home...  well, I'm not winning.

So, I was thinking...

Is there available, or has anyone considered building, an Open-Office
plug-in that allows students to use the Calc GUI and charting while
using the stats capabilities of PSPP?  I mean, most of the time, the
faculty are getting their students to create Word documents and then
cut/paste the SPSS graphs into said documents.  If it were entirely
within the word processor, Calc embedded in Write for example, then it
would have to be easier.

Is there a documented PSPP work-flow for inputting, analyzing, charting,
and creating a final document with the results.  Again, I'm no stats
expert, but there has to be an "easier to teach" way than what they are
doing now.  All I get is the same garbage argument about how they're
trying to teach stats, not how to use a program, so it has to be easy.
But, they way they're doing it, through multiple GUIs is NOT easy, and
is very prone to errors and stupid formatting problems (that I get to
help students solve).  What they're really saying is that they don't
want to bother learning a new way of doing it, even if it is better, and
free, and they're paid 2-months out of every year to develop
curriculum...  ARRGGHH!  So, if it's going to happen, I'm going to have
to prove to them that I can get the same results with less effort, and
in an easier-to-teach way.

Okay, so that's a little bit more than one question (more of a rant
really), but I'd appreciate any insights or pointers,


P.S.  Are there any progressive faculty using PSPP for entry-level STATS
courses that I could pester for course notes?

 David English, Instructional Technologist, address@hidden
 Computing Services, Information Technology    Tel: (250) 370-3698
 Camosun College, 3100 Foul Bay Rd. Victoria, B.C. Canada. V8P 5J2

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