Syllabus Stat 202 Spring 2018

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Basic Statistics (Stat 202) Spring 2018 Sections 004 & 008

(For course materials, click here).

Instructor: Sean Carver, Ph.D., Professorial Lecturer, American University.


  • office location (changed since August 1, 2017): Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building (DMTI, East Campus), Room 208F
  • email:
  • office phone: 202-885-6629

Course Description (from department website): Data presentation, display, and summary, averages, dispersion, simple linear regression, and correlation, probability, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, and tests of significance. Use of statistical software both to analyze real data and to demonstrate and explore concepts. Four credit hours.

A Word of Warning: The Math/Stat Department at AU teaches STAT 202 to prepare students to use statistics in advanced courses required for many majors. Thus the STAT 202 instructor does not always have the luxury of setting the most comfortable and easy pace through the course material. The pace will be determined by what we need to cover for your future classes. There is a lot of material in the curriculum, so be prepared to work hard and spend a lot of time studying outside of class.

Prerequisite: MATH-15x or higher, or permission of department. No prior knowledge of statistics is assumed.

Texts for Class: Because I plan to use MyStatLab for this class, one of the following is required:

  • e-Text subscription: MyStatLab - Standalone Access Card, ISBN: 9780321694645. Buy. Includes e-Text access during course. Can be upgraded to second option below, without paying full price twice ($89.70 additional comes up for me). Upgrade to third option isn't available to me.
  • Loose leaf: DeVeaux, Velleman, Bock, Stats: Data and Models, Books a la Carte Edition Plus NEW MyStatLab with Pearson eText -- Access Card Package, 4th Edition, ISBN: 978013424390
  • Bound hard cover: DeVeaux, Velleman, Bock, Stats: Data and Models Plus NEW MyStatLab with Pearson eText -- Access Card Package, 4th Edition, ISBN: 9780133956498. Buy.

Additional Texts:

  • Carver, The Data Professor's Guide to Crossing the Thresholds in Basic Statistics. Planned publisher: Leanpub (currently unpublished). I'll provide this text for free when the time comes.
  • Carver, The Data Professor's Guide to Basic Statistics. Unpublished. Available for free at the following link.
  • Moore, McCabe, Craig, Intro to Practice of Statistics, Edition: 7th, 8th, or 9th. W.H. Freeman.

Learning Management Software: MyStatLab from Pearson. Comes with free subscription to the e-Textbook we will use for the course, which you can upgrade to a loose-leaf hard copy (apparently, for $89.70). I have not used MyStatLab before in the classroom, so bear with me as we both learn its features. I have heard great things about it. You will purchase this product online or from the bookstore (it will be available at the beginning of the second week of class).

Statistical Software: StatCrunch (free to AU students). StatCrunch is very easy to learn, and is a great pedagogical tool. StatCrunch (web-based software), accessed from a browser with this link: From this link, StatCrunch is free with AU credentials. You can also access StatCrunch from StatCrunch.Com but you will need to pay for access through this site. Free access to StatCrunch will end when you leave AU. A third way of opening StatCrunch is through MyStatLab. This portal will not be available after the class is complete, but during the class it will give you access to all the data sets referenced in the book. There should also be a link from MyStatLab problems---perhaps the easiest way of opening StatCrunch when solving a homework problem.

Please Bring A Laptops To Class! I will be demonstrating software in class with the idea that you follow along with your own computer. Additionally, I will be giving problems to solve in class that require a computer. You may borrow a computer from the library.

Learning Outcomes: Consider this list an overview. I am working on a more detailed list which will be posted here.

By the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Use and understand common statistical terminology.
  • Understand data collection methods including designed experiments and sampling methods.
  • Know when to use stem plots, histograms, pie charts, bar charts, and box plots to describe a given distribution.
  • Calculate and interpret the measures of center and spread.
  • Understand the concepts of correlation and linear regression.
  • Understand the concepts of randomness and probability.
  • Understand and interpret probability distributions such as the normal, student's t- and chi-square distributions.
  • State the central limit theorem and understand the concept of a sampling distribution.
  • Understand the paradigms of tests of significance, including what a p-value is.
  • Perform tests of significance involving means and proportions, both one and two samples.
  • Calculate confidence intervals for means and proportions.

Office Hours: Students are strongly encouraged to come to office hours if they need or want help.

  • 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Mondays and Thursdays
  • 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM Mondays and Thursdays
  • MyStatLab has online chat rooms which I intend to experiment with for additional online office hours. Details to follow.
  • If you want to come to office hours, but can't make any of the times listed above, let me know. I'll consider your schedule when determining the times for my experimental online office hours. But still, I cannot promising anything.
  • If you plan to come in person, I encourage (but don't require) that you to give me a "heads up" by email that you plan to come. If I am not expecting anyone, I may briefly step away from my desk.

SI Leader: Colleen Reynolds will be your Supplemental Instruction (SI) leader this fall. Colleen is a senior majoring in public health, who took my class during the fall of 2016. She will be leading one-hour group study-tutoring sessions twice per week for the course. While these session are not mandatory, they are an opportunity for students looking to improve their performance in the class to ask questions, discuss concepts, practice problems, and receive additional help. Colleen’s goal this semester is to help you master the material, enjoy the class, and understand how statistics can be a useful tool for students in any major. If you have questions about the SI program, you can email Colleen at: Times and locations will be announced by the end of the second week of class. More information about the program can be found at:

Tutoring through AU's Academic Support and Access Center. By appointment. See

Tutoring through MATH/STAT tutoring center: Don Myers Building, Room 103, walk-ins welcome. See

Tutoring Lab Hours during last Fall Semester:

  • Monday - Thursday: 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • Sunday: 3:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Contact: Dr. Behzad Jalali
  • Phone: 202-885-3154
  • Alt Phone: 202-885-3120
  • E-mail:

Class times and locations:

  • Section 008: Mondays, Wednesdays(*), and Thursdays: 11:20 AM - 12:35 PM in DMTI 121.
  • Section 004: Mondays, Wednesdays(*), and Thursdays: 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM in DMTI 121.
  • *Wednesdays classes end 15 minutes early.

Important Dates:

  • Wednesday, January 17: First Day of Class.
  • Thursday, February 8: Midterm Exam 1.
  • Week of Monday, March 12: Spring Break, no class.
  • Thursday, March 29: Midterm Exam 2.
  • Monday, April 30: Last Day of Class.
  • Monday, May 7: Final Exams (see below).

Final Exams:

  • For the class that meets MWTh, 11:20 AM - 12:35 PM: Your exam is Monday, May 7, 11:20 AM - 1:50 PM.
  • For the class that meets MWTh, 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM: Your exam is Monday, May 7, 2:30 PM - 5:00 PM.

Tentative grading scheme:

Homework 25%
Midterm Exam 1 20%
Midterm Exam 2 20%
Final Exam 25%
Attendance 10%

Homework Problems: I currently plan to assign all homework through MyStatLab. I plan to have Monday due dates each week. Both plans may change. There will be nothing due the first Monday: MyStatLab should be in the bookstore by the first Monday. We may work on homework problems in class, but assignments may require time outside of class for completion. Please keep me updated about how long these assignments take, and if there are any problems that are especially difficult, or problems you find not particularly enlightening.

Exams: You will need your computer. You can borrow a computer from the library, if needed. You will have access to StatCrunch. You will not be able to do Google searches, access this website, or use your computer in any other way, unless cleared by instructor. Absences on exam days must be excused through the Dean of Students, who needs to send a letter to me indicating that they excuse your absence. If excused through the Dean of Students, you do not need to disclose the reason to me.

Attendance: You are expected to attend every class. However, there can be compelling reasons why you may need to miss class, once in a while. You must email me if you are not going to attend within 24 hours after the class. Please indicate the reason, unless your absence is being excused by the Dean of Students---in which case, let me know this. Absences are OK only occasionally and only for good reasons (such as sick, religious holidays for faith you practice, varsity meets for a team you are on, etc---not a complete list). If you need to miss more than occasionally, even if it's for good a good reason, please consider dropping the class. If you miss one or more times unexcused, or more than occasionally excused (not counting those excused through official channels) you may receive an "early warning." After your warning you are in danger of losing all credit in this category. Every day builds upon the material previously covered, and missing class puts you at a disadvantage, even if it is for a good reason.

Class Etiquette: Please participate in class by asking questions when you do not understand something. Invariably other students benefit from these questions. Please engage in discussions, and please engage with the class, generally. I find it easier to give good lectures when students are asking questions, and engaging with the material.

Please give the class your full attention and refrain from talking, texting, surfing the web, and similar distractions. If it is clear to other students that you are not paying attention, it will be harder for them to pay attention to me. This statement is true in general, but it is especially true if you are talking. Also, it can also be harder for me to give good lectures, when it is clear that not everyone is paying attention. Like you, your classmates are paying a lot of money to be here. Please have some respect for the others in the room. If you need to attend to something urgently, it is OK to excuse yourself from the classroom. Please be warned that if people are not following this request, I may reread this statement to the class.

Academic Integrity: Cheating is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Consider this: in subtle ways, cheating to get a better grade on an exam can result in lowering the grades of some of your classmates. Certainly this is true when a specific curve is used to assign grades. Even when I don't use curves explicitly, they can be implicit in decisions about writing and grading exams. As required by the policy of American University, I will report all suspected cases of cheating to the Dean's office who will proceed to investigate and adjudicate the issues. Cheating is giving or receiving unauthorized assistance on quizzes or exams, from other students or other people, from notes, from books, or from the web. When inappropriate copying between students is caught, both parties may be culpable.

Public Service Announcement: A representative of AU's Students Against Sexual Violence (SASV) approached me and asked me to include on my syllabi a list of resources available for survivors of sexual assault and their friends. While sexual violence is by no means the only challenge faced by students, I agree that this issue merits particular attention, so I am honoring her request by attaching the list she gave me:

Sexual Assault Resources

  • It’s never the survivor’s fault. There are many people you can talk to if you or someone you care about has been sexually assaulted:
  • AU's Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator Daniel Rappaport (
  • AU's Coordinator for Victim Advocacy Sara Yzaguirre (
  • DC SANE Program (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) 1-800-641-4028
  • The only hospital in DC area that gives Physical Evidence Recover Kits (rape kits) is Medstar Washington Hospital
  • DC Rape Crisis Center: 202-333-7273
  • Students found responsible for sexual misconduct can be sanctioned with penalties that include suspension or expulsion from American University, and they may be subject to criminal charges
  • If you want to submit a formal complaint against someone who has sexually assaulted you, harassed you, or discriminated against you based on your gender identity or sexual orientation, you can do so online at, or contact the Dean of Students at or 202-885-3300. These are Title IX violations, and universities are legally required to prohibit these actions.
  • Resources on campus that are required to keep what you tell them confidential are Daniel Rappaport, Sara Yzaguirre, ordained chaplains in Kay, and counselors at the counseling center. (OASIS may also belong here but it didn't exist when this list was created.)