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B A S I C   S T A T I S T I C S   A N D   P R O B A B I L I T Y  -  F A L L   2 0 1 7 


LECTURES: Tuesday, Thursday 12:30pm-1:45pm, in PHO 206.

DISCUSSION AND LAB SECTIONS: Tuesday or Wednesday, check your schedule.

INSTRUCTOR: Solesne Bourguin, office hours Tuesday, Thursday 10:30am-11:30am, in MCS 226.

TEACHING FELLOWS: Nathan Josephs (njosephs@bu.edu), office hours Friday 11:00am-12:00am in B46A. Mi Li (mli12@bu.edu), office hours Wednesday 3:00pm-4:00pm in B46A.

GRADERS: Nutthakorn Intharacha (aomnut@bu.edu), Zixin Ding (cindydzx@bu.edu) and Yuanzhu Li (yuanzhu@bu.edu). Don't hesitate to contact them if you have questions regarding grading.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course serves as an introduction to basic concepts and tools in probability and statistics. We begin with techniques for describing data. Then we study the elements of probability theory, including probability densities, means, variances, correlation, independence, the binomial distribution, and the central limit theorem. Finally, we combine data description and probability theory into an approach to statistical inference. Students should emerge from this course with the ability to incorporate a variety of skills in analyzing and reasoning from data.

CLICKERS: We will be using an audience response system (i.e. clickers) in class to poll for information, check comprehension, and collect data for analysis. You are required to bring your clicker to every lecture and lab session. Clickers can be purchased from the BU bookstore or online.

TEXTBOOK: Statistics, 13th Edition, by McClave and Sincich, Pearson 2016.

GRADING: problem sets (25%), project (25%), midterm exam (20%) and a final exam (30%).

HOMEWORK: Homework problem sets will be assigned each Tuesday and due the following week (in discussion sessions). These assignments will consist of problems taken from the course textbook. Please feel free to collaborate on these, but make sure that the problem sets you hand in reflect your own understanding of the material. Late homeworks will not be accepted at all. See table below for assignments and due dates.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS PROJECT: You will work in groups to complete a semester long project, in which you will identify some interesting questions to address, collect data, and perform a statistical analysis using the methods we will learn in class. You will hand in a number of project milestones throughout the semester, submit a final project report, and present your findings to the class.

SCHEDULE OF EXAMS: The midterm exam will be held on Thursday, October 19th from 12:30pm to 1:45pm and will cover all that has been done up to Tuesday, October 17th included. The (cumulative) final exam date will be announced later. No documents or calculators will be allowed.

EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITIES: There are a number of ways to earn extra credit for the course. In each class, there will be clicker questions to test your comprehension of the material. The more questions you get right, the more extra credit you earn. You will also earn a bonus for answering at least 90% of all the clicker questions in the lecture and lab/studio sections. Extra credit points for outstanding participation in the discussion sections will also be awarded.

LAB SECTIONS: The lab sections provide you the opportunity to work in groups to solve problems in probability theory and data analysis. You will conduct experiments and use statistical software to solve these problems. You will be assigned to groups during the first studio section. This will be your group for the course project as well as the lab sections. Please coordinate within your group to ensure that at least one member brings a laptop computer to each section (there is no harm in more than one person bringing laptops). The statistical software for the class is JMP, which can be downloaded for free here.
Each lab session will have an accompanying assignment to be completed. Generally, there will be a pre-lab posted on the course website and an online assignment to be completed during the lab session. Please read through the pre-lab before coming to the session. Although you will work on these assignments in groups, each student must complete the online assignment through their account on the course webpage. If you are unable to complete the online assignments during the lab session, you can complete it on your own up to 24 hours afterward.

DISCUSSION SECTIONS: The discussion sections provide you with the opportunity to ask questions about any of the course material, past or current assignments, or any subjects beyond the material covered in lecture. Please complete all reading assignments before your section, and prepare questions in advance.

PROBLEM SETS: The assignments are posted weekly on Blackboard. Please staple your homework sets to keep loose pages from getting lost. Remember that while working together on homeworks is encouraged, homeworks should be written up separately. Handing in substantially identical homeworks is a violation of the academic conduct code.