→ Statistics → Fa15 ME50 → Course Outline
Updated 30 Aug 2015

Course Outline

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Course MATH200, Statistics (3 credits), section ME50, Fall 2015
Instructor Stan Brown
(When sending email, please include your first and last name.)
Office location room 122
Office hours 5:30–6:30 PM Tuesdays, room 283A
Class hours T 6:30–9:20, room 283A (see Schedule and Assignments)
Web site

Required Texts and Materials

How You Will Learn

(“Class Modalities/Alternative Learning Strategies”)

The primary source is your textbook and a few other handouts I provide. You will read and study one chapter a week and do assigned problems. This will be supplemented during class time by lecture, discussion, practice labs, and quizzes. Outside of class, you will also practice with several labs.

Reading a technical book is a special skill. Please see How to Read a Math Book.

Email Use

Email is a great way to communicate between class sessions. Use it to ask me questions, report textbook errors, contact me if you miss class, and so on. I’ll almost always respond within 12 hours, often sooner. Be aware that if you email me after noon on class day I probably won’t see your message till after class.

When emailing me, please include your first and last name. If you’re asking about a homework problem, please include the chapter and problem number, with as much information as possible about just where you’re getting stuck.

I will always use my TC3 account; if you get an email from any other source, it’s not from me.

Periodically I send reminders and announcements to the whole class. Please check your TC3 email frequently so that you see them, as well as any message for you specifically. You can forward your TC3 email to another account, but you still have to log in to your TC3 email once in 180 days, or it will stop working.

With outside email there’s no way to verify your identity. Therefore, any discussion of grades or other confidential information must come from your TC3 email account. Federal privacy law and College policy don’t allow me to discuss confidential information with any non-TC3 email account, so please don’t ask. You can use any email account for other matters such as questions about assignments.

Multitasking and Electronic Devices

Many people these days are used to multitasking. Please leave that behind when you enter the classroom. You may think you can multitask and still follow what’s going on, but that’s just wishful thinking. In fact, multitasking hurts your learning. One widely cited study showing this was by Helene Hembrooke and Geri Gay of Cornell: “The laptop and the lecture: The effects of multitasking in learning environments” (Journal of Computing in Higher Education, Fall 2003, 15(I):–46).

You’re in class to learn. I don’t ban multitasking out of some desire to spoil your fun, but because studies show that when you try to multitask you don’t learn as well. The class should always have your full attention.

Multitasking problems include making or answering a cell-phone call, texting, IMing, emailing, Web browsing, Facebook and Twitter, playing games, wearing headphones, and reading non-class materials. Such activities will cost you your professional-conduct points for that session, and I may ask you to leave the room.

I do believe that electronic devices used intelligently can help some students (not all) absorb the course material better, just as they help me present it better. Therefore, I allow you to take notes on a laptop, record lectures on an iPhone, and so forth, as long as you do it in a way that does not distract others. (Recordings are for your personal use only. Any other use or distribution needs my permission in advance.)

If class-related electronic activities are distracting to others (your fellow students or me), you may be asked to stop the distraction. There is no penalty for a first occurrence.

Required Readings, Presentations, and Written Assignments

Please see the separate Schedule and Assignments for readings and assignments with due dates.

On all written work — labs, quizzes, and exams — you must show your work to receive full credit. If you omit your computations, I’ll write WTCF (Where’d This Come From?) and deduct points even for a correct answer. See Show Your Work! in Chapter 1 of the textbook for more information.

You’ll get your graded papers back at the next class after you hand them in. If you miss that class, ask for your paper when you return. Unless you make other arrangements, unclaimed papers may be destroyed after two class meetings.


The course includes several labs that give you a chance to gather and analyze data.

When handing in a lab, staple the pages in order. Paper clips and other insecure fasteners are not acceptable.

Makeup Policy for Labs

Labs are due at the start of class on the due date. A late paper loses a percentage of the possible points, as follows:

Assignments aren’t accepted after the start of the next class.

Plan ahead to avoid the penalty. If you know you’ll miss class when a lab is due, you can do any of these:

Under certain circumstances, at my discretion, the penalty for a late assignment may be waived. If you are prevented from completing the assignment or attending class by unpredictable circumstances beyond your control, please tell me about it, in person or by email, as soon as possible — before it’s due, if you can. You will need to hand in the assignment as soon as reasonably possible, and I may require evidence such as a doctor’s note or tow-truck receipt.

No extension will be given for situations within your control or for situations that were reasonably predictable. For example, a major accident that closes Route 13 for an hour is not predictable and would be a valid excuse for turning in an assignment after the start of class, but routine traffic congestion is predictable. Family responsibilities, activities for school sports and other classes, and the like are all part of ordinary life, and managing all your responsibilities is part of being in college.

Quizzes and Exams

Be ready for a quiz at every class, but we’ll actually have a quiz roughly half the time. Each quiz will be drawn from recent class work, readings, and homework. As a surprise, I might decide to give the quiz as a take-home.

You’ll need your calculator on most quizzes and exams, and pencil and eraser on all of them. (I recommend against a pen because it’s very hard to correct math work written in ink.) Because calculators can recall stored operations, you may not share a calculator during quizzes or exams.

For each quiz and exam, you may create and use a cheat sheet. This can contain anything you like, in any format including photo reduction, on the front and back of one US letter-size sheet of paper, as long as you create it yourself and don’t copy or borrow it from another source. For the Chapter 9–12 quizzes and the final exam, I’ll distribute a second cheat sheet for you to use in addition to your own.

Makeup Policy for Quizzes

If you’re not in class for the quiz, I record a zero. You can’t take the quiz at another time, and you can’t turn in anything else as a substitute.

To allow for emergencies, medical or religious reasons, or any other reason for missing class, your lowest quiz score won’t count in your final grade. This “freebie” is not in addition to valid excuses; it allows for valid excuses.

Any take-home quizzes are due by the start of class, and there is no credit after that. If you will miss class, please see the makeup policy for labs and use one of those methods to turn it in early.

Final Exam

We’ll have a final exam after the last class, on a date to be announced, and it will cover the entire course (1/3 on descriptive statistics, 2/3 on inferential).

Makeup Policy for Final Exam

If you expect to miss the exam, discuss it with me a reasonable time in advance by email or in person. If you miss the exam unexpectedly, through circumstances beyond your control, discuss the situation with me as soon as possible by email or in person. You’ll be asked for documentation on letterhead including a phone number, such as a doctor’s note or a tow-truck receipt.

Any opportunity to take an exam at a different time will be at my discretion. You’ll have a different exam from the class, and it may be more difficult (though I won’t do that on purpose).

Textbook Problems (Homework)

Would you expect to play great basketball after just reading about it and listening to lectures? Of course not, and math is no different. The only way to learn math is to work problems. If you don’t do the homework you’ll probably bomb the quiz, and you’ll have trouble understanding the next lecture.

Blowing off the homework carries built-in penalties, and anyway all the answers are provided, so logically there’s no need for me to collect your homework.

Write the homework, including all the steps to a solution. You won’t learn as much if you just look at a problem and tap some calculator keys.

If you don’t know an effective method to solve math problems, you’re not alone. How to Work a Math Problem tells you how. It’s a good page to review anyway.

Always check your answers. All assigned problems have answers on the Web page, and most have full solutions. Whenever your answer doesn’t match, figure out why, get help if you need it, and fix what’s wrong.

Since class time for homework questions is very limited, it’s vital to get most of your questions answered before coming to class. The Baker Center has in-person help and live chat, or you can email me.

You may need to work more problems than just those listed in the Schedule and Assignments. How do you know? If you have trouble with a problem, you need to do more problems like that one. The Baker Center can point you to additional problems.

Evaluation and Grading System

Point System

Your final letter grade depends on dividing the points you earned by the possible points. The “freebie” quiz doesn’t count in points earned or possible points.

 possible points
Quizzes, 15 each about 75
Labs to do at home 140
Final exam 120
Professional conduct and attitude 45
Total         about 380

You can download an Excel spreadsheet or print a paper worksheet to track your grade throughout the course.

Please feel free to discuss your progress with me at any time. If you’re not doing as well as you want to, it will be less painful to catch up sooner than later.

Extra Credit

You can earn extra credit, as follows:

If you earn a passing grade without counting extra credit, I add your extra-credit points in with points earned and then divide the total by possible points. Extra credit can’t be used to raise a failing grade.

Students sometimes ask for extra-credit assignments to bolster a poor grade, but I don’t believe in them. That effort is better spent in studying the subject matter and getting help when you need it, which will bring your grades up.

Progress Reports

A few weeks into the semester, I submit an early progress report through myTC3/myInfo, based on your performance in class to that point. The progress report grade uses the following scale:

I’ll also give you a detailed grade computation at that time.

Final Letter Grades

For each letter grade, you must earn at least the indicated percentage of possible points:

A  93%        A−  90%        B+  87%        B  83%        B−  80%        C+  77%       
C  73%        C−  70%        D+  67%        D  63%        D−  60%        F  <60%       

Exceptions: If your performance on the final exam is markedly better than the rest of your course work, I may raise your final grade to reflect that. However, if you score 45% or lower (≤54/120) on the final exam, you probably haven’t mastered the material adequately, and I may record a final grade of F regardless of your other grades.

You can get your letter grade through myTC3/myInfo within about 48 hours after the final exam, and I’ll gladly provide a detailed computation on request via email.

Academic Integrity

It’s a great idea to study together and even to discuss assignments with classmates. However, the College and I require that any written work you turn in must be your own. If you discuss an assignment with others, you still need to do the assignment yourself, not simply copy someone else’s paper. This is the only way you or I can be sure you’ve actually learned the material.

All violations are reported to the Provost and Vice President of the College. The penalty at a minimum will be a zero on the assignment and may range up to expulsion from the College.

Please see the College Statement of Academic Integrity Policy and the procedures in case of a Violation of Academic Integrity Policy.

Attendance Policy

“To maintain good grades, regular attendance in class is necessary. Absence from class is considered a serious matter, and absence never excuses a student from class work.

—approved by CAPCOM on 8 March 1994

You’re an adult, and I expect you to use your head and not miss unnecessarily. But when you are truly sick (especially when contagious), or if weather makes the roads too dangerous, stay home.

Missed Classes

If you expect to miss class, tell me in advance; if you miss class unexpectedly, email me as soon afterward as you can. Please don’t make me chase after you for information.

When you miss class for any reason, look at your Schedule and Assignments to see what you missed, and check the class Web page for any announcements. But your main responsibility is to study the chapter on your own so that you’re ready for the chapter quiz — you’ll need to read it more than once. Feel free to ask any specific questions, but I can’t teach the chapter a second time for you.

If you miss two classes in a row, or any three, you’ll probably have a very hard time catching up. For that reason you may be administratively withdrawn from the class (grade of AW). Administrative withdrawal may have academic and financial implications. If you are administratively withdrawn from a course, you will not be eligible for a tuition refund for that course. You’re encouraged to contact your advisor and the Financial Aid office to determine the specific implications for your progress at TC3.

If you’re lost after missing multiple classes, and you can’t catch up even after getting help promptly, think seriously about withdrawing while you can still get a W or WP grade, which will not affect your GPA. Consult your advisor for help examining your options, because they may affect your strategy for graduating.

Lateness and Leaving Early

I expect you to be in your seat by the time class starts and remain in your seat throughout the class. (We have a break around halfway through.) Arriving late or leaving during class distracts other students and will cost you points for professional conduct.

If you have a medical condition that keeps you from sitting through class, please let me know privately.

As always, your safety is important. If you are running late, be late rather than drive recklessly. If you have a job or other responsibilities that make you late or require you to leave early, please discuss the situation with me.

Canceled Classes

If weather, health emergency, or similar reasons force the College to cancel evening classes, the decision will be posted on the College Web site (not necessarily the course Web site) by about 3:00 PM and communicated to local radio and TV stations. You’ll be texted if you’ve signed up for that service. You can also call 607-844-8222 for a recorded message.

If the College is closed or class canceled for any reason, do that evening’s work on your own — you’ll probably need to read the chapter more than once. Any written assignment will be due at the next class meeting. Later assignments will keep the original schedule unless an announcement is made on the class Web page.

The College reserves the right to schedule additional class time to compensate for time lost owing to canceled classes.

My Responsibilities

You have the right to expect the following from me:

Your Responsibilities

You’re in college. I expect you to act like a responsible adult and like the professional you are training to be.

Allow enough time for your course work. The College guideline for this course is around 6–9 hours a week on average, in addition to class time. You may need more time or less. Use Your To-Do List as a checklist for your work between classes.

Professional Conduct and Attitude

I expect you to show a professional attitude to your studies. For example:

For every class meeting in which you meet these expectations you’ll earn 3 points.

If you interfere with the learning of others, I may ask you to leave the classroom. If you repeatedly disrupt the learning process, the dean may remove you from the course. Please refer to the College’s policy on Classroom Behavior.

Your Success is Your Responsibility

“I know not how to aid you, save in the assurance of one of mature age, and much severe experience, that you can not fail, if you resolutely determine, that you will not.

—Abraham Lincoln, 22 Jul 1860

Let’s talk turkey. To do well in this course, you need to be organized, plan your time well, study your textbook and notes, finish all the homework, and pay attention to directions. You don’t have to be a math whiz — good work habits count for more than native math ability. If you want to do well, you’ll do the work. If you don’t, you’re just wasting time.

Most students who fail the course fail it because they let the work pile up. That’s easy to do with a once-a-week course, but it’s deadly. So if you have issues with time management, get help now from the Student Success office. Time management skills are crucial to your success in college.

TC3 is a learning-centered institution. The faculty are here to help you, but learning is your job. Gibbon said it well, over two centuries ago: “the power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy, except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous.” In modern English: the teacher can’t help if the student doesn’t work.

Get out there and grab knowledge by the scruff of the neck — don’t just sit in your seat and hope it oozes into your brain. Have a question? Dig for the answer! Part of college is learning to find information on your own when possible — and it’s usually possible. (TIP: There’s a search box on the class Web page and on every textbook page.)

How to Succeed in Math gives you lots more tips on studying, taking tests, and so forth.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.

—Abraham Lincoln, 5 Nov 1855

Additional Resources for Assistance

First, the obvious: don’t go home after class with an unanswered question.

The Baker Center has statistics tutors. You’ll get the most benefit if you start going before you get overwhelmed.

I strongly recommend a study group of two to four people. Form one early in the course, and meet regularly. (The Baker Center is a good meeting spot, with tutors right at hand.)

I’m in our room for the hour before class, and will gladly answer questions. This is best for detail questions; get bigger questions answered sooner so that you’ll have time to understand the answers.

The Student Success Office can help you with everything in your college life — time management, quiz anxiety, organizational skills, you name it. Contact them at or 607-844-8222, extension 4521.

Accommodation Policy

The College provides reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities that may affect their ability to participate fully in course activities or meet course requirements. Please contact Carolyn Boone, Coordinator of Access and Equity Services, in the Baker Commons at 844-8222 x 4283 or to discuss your needs. All course material is available in alternative formats on request.

Please see the College’s Policies and Procedures for disability-related accommodations.

Course Description and Prerequisites

From the Course Catalog for MATH200:

A study of the application of statistical procedures to the analysis of experimental data. Topics covered include methods of presentation of data, measures of central tendency and dispersion, sampling techniques, elementary probability, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals on both one and two populations, and linear regression and correlation. Use of the binomial, the normal, the student’s T, and the chi-square distributions are covered. ... MATH 200 fulfills the SUNY General Education Mathematics requirement.

Prerequisites: C or better grade in MATH 100 or equivalent, and prior completion or concurrent enrollment in ENGL 100. 3 Cr.

Course Objectives

Statistics is more than a body of knowledge: it is a way of thinking. In this course you will learn to think critically about real-life situations, and you will gain tools to help you distinguish truth from falsehood.

From the Master Course Syllabus:

You will:

Minimal Skills Needed

Course Content in Units or Segments

Please see the separate Schedule and Assignments.

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