Fall 2010 Syllabus

MAT111AD  Elementary Probability and Statistics  (3 hours)


Instructor:  William Harris                                                     Office:  120 ASC

Email:  wharris@georgetowncollege.edu                                Phone:  863-7921

Instructor’s Web Site:  www.georgetowncollege.edu/departments/mpc/harris

Course Web Site:  https://scholar.georgetowncollege.edu


Office Hours:  10:00-10:30 MWF; 1:30-2:30 MWF; 1:00-2:00 TR; also by appt.


Course Description:  An introductory study of statistics and basic probability theory, including such topics as frequency distributions, measures of central tendency, variation, the normal distribution, and tests of hypotheses.  Not applicable to a major in mathematics.


Text:  Utts, Jessica M., and Heckerd, Robert F., Mind on Statistics, 3rd ed., Brooks/Cole, 2007.


Course Objectives:  In this class, successful students will:

--demonstrate basic content knowledge of descriptive and inferential statistical procedures on

   homework, quizzes, and exams;

--employ analytical reasoning skills by reading problem scenarios and selecting an appropriate

   technique for the problem described on homework and exams;

--apply problem-solving skills to arrive at correct solutions on homework, quizzes, and exams;

--apply critical thinking and written communication skills to interpret their answers in the

   context of scenarios described on homework and exams.


Requirements of Course: 


            Important Note:  For each chapter in the text, there will be two types of exercises assigned:  “basic” and

“turn-in.”  “Basic” exercises are generally denoted by the problem number being in bold face (indicating that the answer is in the back of the text) and by a green dot (indicating that it addresses basic skills).   You will frequently hear me refer to these as “bold face dot” exercises.  “Turn-in” exercises will often be neither bold-faced nor dotted.


1)   Quizzes.  There will be 11 quizzes through the semester, generally on Tuesdays.  Each quiz will be worth 10 points, and should last between five and ten minutes.  Quiz questions will be very similar to recently assigned “basic” exercises.  The lowest quiz score will be dropped in determining your quiz score.


2)   Homework assignments.  “Turn-in” exercises will be collected throughout the semester, generally on Thursdays.  Please note that once or twice during the semester I may collect homework from two chapters on the same day.  I will look closely at a few of the problems and check them for correctness; other problems will be checked for an honest effort.  Homework from each chapter will be graded on a 15-point scale—this means that there will be 30 points to earn in those cases when two chapters of assignments are collected.  Usually, 10 points will come from the problems graded for correctness, and the other 5 from completeness of the assignment.  I expect your homework to be neatly written up, and all explanations should use complete sentences and correct grammar.   I reserve the right to refuse to grade any homework judged to be illegible.  Homework must be completed in pencil.  When your responses include Minitab output, please incorporate the output within the body of your response—do not attach it separately to the back of the assignment!  While it is acceptable to consult with your classmates on homework, I do expect that when you write up what you will be turning in, all work is your own.  I will assign a score of zero to “look-alike” papers.   


At the moment, I expect there to be 15 homework assignments; the lowest homework score will be dropped in figuring your homework score.


Please note that homework assignments frequently will require the use of the statistical software package Minitab, which I will introduce during the semester.  Machines in LRC 012, LRC 015, the T3 Center on the main floor of the LRC, and the Asher Science Center computer lab (ASC 130) all have access to Minitab on the desktop.  Please do not share Minitab computations with each other; you’ll get much more out of the homework if you do the work yourself.


There may be occasional in-class activities and assignments from places other than the text, as well.  I will say more about these at the appropriate points in the semester.  In general, you should expect these to be lumped in as “homework.”


3)   Exams.  There will be three hourly exams.  They are currently scheduled for September 23, November 2, and December 2, but we may need to make minor adjustments.  There will be a comprehensive final exam on Tuesday, December 14, at 9am (for Section A) and Friday, December 10, at 3pm (for Section D).


You may bring with you to all the exams (including the final) a single 4” by 6” index card containing any notes, formulas or computations you please.  Probability tables will be provided for all exams (including the final).


Course Outline: 

We will cover material from the first 13 chapters of the text, as well as chapter 15.  Additional topics will be addressed as time permits.



            Each of the following carries equal weight in the course:


            Homework       Quizzes                        Exam #1          Exam #2          Exam #3


The lowest of these five scores to be dropped in computing your final grade; however, to drop either your HW or quiz score, you must have achieved at least 60% in that category.  The four scores remaining will each count as 19% of your grade (76% total for these four categories).  The final exam will count as 24%.


            To summarize:


            Homework:                  19%

            Quizzes:                       19%

            Exam #1:                     19%                 ß  One of these five will be dropped; must score      

Exam #2:                     19%                       at least 60% on HW, Quizzes to drop

Exam #3:                     19%


            Final Exam:                 24%


Makeup exams will be given only in extenuating circumstances; should you miss an examination for a reason other than illness, the normal procedure will be to have that exam be the dropped score.  If you know in advance that you are going to miss an exam, please tell me ASAP and we will see if we can make alternate arrangements.


I would expect grades to be assigned according to the following scale: 


A:  91-100;  A/B:  88 up to 91;  B: 81 up to 88;  B/C:  78 up to 81;  C:  70 up to 78; 

D: 60 up to 70;  F:  below 60.   I reserve the right to adjust this scale slightly at the end of the semester.


Attendance Policy:  If you will be missing class on a day when homework is due or a quiz is taken, you will generally need to turn in the assignment/take the quiz in advance of your absence.   If you know in advance you will be absent (such as for an athletic event, class field trip, etc.), please let me know so that we can make appropriate arrangements.  If you are a student-athlete, you, not your coach, are responsible for informing me of upcoming athletic events. 


If you miss due to illness, you will need to contact me regarding your absence as soon as reasonably possible (either voicemail or email is fine).  I expect direct contact from you—do not expect Student Life to contact me.  I also expect to see corroborating evidence of your illness from a doctor or the Health Services office.  If you have missed on a day when homework is due, you should make arrangements for the assignment to be turned in that day.  I strongly prefer that it be turned in at my office (sliding it under the door if I am not there is welcome), as opposed to being sent via campus mail.   I will not accept homework from you if you attempt to hand it in at the next class meeting.  Missed quizzes due to illness must be made up before the next class meeting.  If you have missed class for reasons other than illness and have not made make-up arrangements in advance, you will not be allowed to make up missed assignments.  The first missed quiz and the first missed homework will count as your lowest score to be dropped; subsequent missed assignments will receive a score of zero.


I do not deduct points from your grade for absences (other than zeros on missed assignments), but you should realize that missing class usually carries its own penalty in reduced performance on assignments and exams that deal with the material you missed.


Cell Phone Policy:  I expect you to have your cell phone turned off while in my class.  If your phone rings or I catch you texting/browsing/calling in class, you will lose two points on the next homework assignment.  You may NOT your cell phone during a quiz or exam.



1)      Obviously, this class is held in a computer lab, and having a PC in front of you will surely provide temptation to check email, browse the web, or play solitaire (believe me, I’ve seen it all!).  Please understand that such behavior is rude; use the computer only for typing class notes or using Minitab on in-class work.


2)      We will make occasional use of calculators in this class, and you should bring one to class every day.  You do not need a graphing calculator—one that does perform statistical functions is desirable, however.  If you do not have a calculator, I would go out and get one. 


Cheating:  In a word, DON’T.  Please make sure you have read and understand the school policies on “Academic Honesty” in your college Catalog.  Recall also that there is an Academic Honor Code present on this campus.  If you are caught cheating in this course, you will be dealt with appropriately.  Note that cheating includes the “look-alike” homework papers mentioned above under Requirements of Course.  You will receive one warning about papers (or parts of papers) looking too much alike; a second occurrence will result in an honor violation.





De Veaux, Richard, Velleman, Paul, and Bock, David, Intro Stats, 2nd ed., Addison-Wesley, 2006.


Moore, David, The Basic Practice of Statistics, 4th ed., W. H. Freeman, 2007.


Rossman, Allan J., and Chance, Beth L., , Workshop Statistics: Discovery with Data, 3rd edition, Key College Publishing, 2008.


Scheaffer, Richard L., et. al., Activity-Based Statistics: Student Guide, Springer-Verlag, 1996.





Approximate Course Outline


Date                            Material          Assignment Due

August 24                    Ch. 1

August 26                    Ch. 2               

August 31                    Ch. 2                Quiz #1/HW from Ch. 1

September 2                 Ch. 3                HW from Ch. 2

September 7                 Chs. 3/4           Quiz #2

September 9                 Ch. 4                HW from Ch. 3

September 14               Ch. 5                Quiz #3

September 16               Ch. 5                HW from Ch. 4

September 21               Ch. 6                Quiz #4 and HW from Ch. 5

September 23              Exam #1   (over Chapters 1-5)

September 28               Ch. 7                Quiz #5

September 30               Ch. 7                HW from Ch. 6

October 5                     Ch. 8                Quiz #6

October 12                   Ch. 8                HW from Ch. 7

October 14                   Chs. 8/9A        Quiz #7

October 19                   Ch. 9A             HW from Ch. 8

October 21                   Ch. 10              Quiz #8

October 26                   Ch. 10              HW from Ch. 9A

October 28                   Ch. 12              HW from Ch. 10

November 2                Exam #2   (over Chapters 6-10)       

November 4                 Ch. 12             

November 9                 Ch. 9B             Quiz #9

November 11               Ch. 11              HW from Ch. 12

November 16               Chs. 11/13       Quiz #10

November 18               Ch. 13              HW from Ch. 9B

November 23               Ch. 15              HW from Chs. 11 and 13

November 30               Ch. 15              Quiz #11

December 2                Exam #3   (over Chapters 9B, 11, 12, 13)

December 7                 Review                        HW from Ch. 15


Final Exam:                Tuesday, December 14, at 9am for Section A

                                    Friday, December 10, at 3pm for Section D