Articles  |  ,   |  August 24, 2020

“Playing the Whole Game”: A Data Collection and Analysis Exercise With Google Calendar

Journal article by Albert Y. Kim and Johanna Hardin.
Published in Journal of Statistics Education.


We provide a computational exercise suitable for early introduction in an undergraduate statistics or data science course that allows students to “play the whole game” of data science: performing both data collection and data analysis. While many teaching resources exist for data analysis, such resources are not as abundant for data collection given the inherent difficulty of the task. Our proposed exercise centers around student use of Google Calendar to collect data with the goal of answering the question “How do I spend my time?” On the one hand, the exercise involves answering a question with near universal appeal, but on the other hand, the data collection mechanism is not beyond the reach of a typical undergraduate student. A further benefit of the exercise is that it provides an opportunity for discussions on ethical questions and considerations that data providers and data analysts face in today’s age of large-scale internet-based data collection.