A.J. Lopez, R. Perez

University of Oviedo (SPAIN)
The celebration of the International Year of Statistics in 2013 provides a good opportunity for emphasizing the role of statistical tools in the current lives and also for sharing professional experiences in a wide variety of fields.

Focusing on the framework of Higher Education, Statistics and Econometrics have become increasingly important in several university degrees related to Economics. Business Administration, Finance, Accountancy or Human Resources.

Furthermore, as Statistics and Econometrics teachers, we have checked the outstanding role played by software in the teaching-learning process and therefore we suggest the convenience of testing its suitability through the “four-F” test, including the hypotheses of freedom, functionality, flexibility and friendliness.

In this paper we summarize our experience with Gretl in different Statistics and Econometrics courses, ranging from undergraduate to master and doctorate levels. More specifically:
-The course “Statistics and Econometrics” (degree in Economics, second year) uses Gretl as educational software in the computing-room sessions, making an intensive use of several Menu options (probability, distributions, tests, sampling, models...) complemented with some specific functions related to confidence intervals or combinatorial calculations.
-The course “Econometrics” (degree in Economics, third year) considers Gretl a strategic teaching tool, since this software is used in the practical sections but also in a team work developed by our students, enabling them to learn Econometrics in a practical and realistic way (“learning by doing”).
- The online course “Economic Forecasting” is a free-election subject offered to nine Spanish universities through a Shared Virtual Campus, using Gretl as a main teaching tool for problem solving and evaluation.
- Gretl has also been used in a wide variety of post-graduate courses, including “Time Series” (Master in Finance, University of Leon), and “Applied Econometrics” (Ph D in Applied Economics, University of Oviedo) where main attention is paid to the Model Menu and its options (TSLS, WLS, ARIMA, VAR, Panel ..) complemented with the console and some specific functions.

In all the previously described courses, according to the opinions of students and teachers, Gretl has successfully passed the proposed “four-F” test, thus providing us with a free, functional, flexible and friendly teaching tool.