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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

B Bruce Bare
Q SCI 381
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Probability and Statistics

Applications to biological and natural resource problems stressing the formulation and interpretation of statistical tests. Random variables, expectations, variances, binomial, hypergeometric, Poisson, normal, chi-square, "t" and "F" distributions. Prerequisite: either MATH 120, MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126, Q SCI 190, or Q SCI 291, or a minimum score of 2 on advanced placement test, or a score of 153-163 on the MPT-AS placement test. Offered: AWSpS.

Class description

Course objectives are to teach students how to use statistical techniques in decision making; to think critically about statements read in the common as well as the scientific press; to draw correct inferences from sample data; to formulate appropriate statistical hypotheses; and to correctly interpret statistical statements. Logical thought processes are more critical than the ability to manipulate complex mathematical formulae. Emphasis is on conceptual understanding -- but some computational problems are covered.

Student learning goals

To master the basic concepts of probability and elementary statistical techniques.

To understand the difference between descriptive and inferential statistical methods.

To learn how to formulate a hypothesis, design an experiment or sample survey, collect and analyze sample data, interpret the results of the analysis, make the proper conclusion, and draw the correct inference.

To understand the power of inductive logic and its role in gaining a better insight into biological and environmental problems.

To demonstrate the proper uses of statistical thinking and the role statistics plays in science and in the common press.

To allow students to better understand how statistics can be properly used in their disciplinary studies in biology, natural resource sciences, environmental sciences, and other physical and social sciences.

General method of instruction

The course is delivered using a hybrid approach, but there are no formal lectures.

The web is used to deliver all course content. Students are responsible for accessing this information and for learning the course material. This requires self-discipline and vigilance to ensure that enough study time is devoted to this course on a daily basis. The instructors use email to communicate with the class and a chat room is available for students to submit questions or comments. In addition, our course TA holds office hours to provide individual attention when needed. To keep students on pace, a self-graded homework assignment is assigned weekly and consists of 18-30 problems from the text. Homework assignment due dates are shown on the class web site as well as on the homework web page. For full details about this course -- including the text, grading, online course materials available through CourseCompass, and other information -- visit the web site shown at the bottom of this page.

Recommended preparation

Q SCI 190 or MATH 120 is a necessary prerequisite. No calculus is required, but an ability to think in abstract terms using a logical thought process is a requirement. Only high school algebra and simple arithmetic is needed. Students are expected to spend 3 hours outside of class for each credit earned. This time is to be spent working problems; reading the text, and thinking about the concepts being used.

Class assignments and grading

Most of the self-graded homework problems involve short word problems that must be formulated and answered in numerical terms. Answers to the homework assignments and a variety of quizzes and practice exams are available online through CourseCompass. A Multimedia Library is also available through CourseCompass - it contains powerpoint slides from each chapter, statlets, videos and an online text.

Homeworks are not graded. Five hourly (55 minutes) examinations, with one allowed drop, plus a comprehensive final examination (110 minutes). All examinations are closed book, but a hand held calculator and pre-printed formula sheets are allowed. Seventy-two percent of the course grade is based on the four highest hourly examinations, with the final examination constituting the remaining 28%. No curve is used. Instead a fixed grading scheme is employed and is based on the total number of points possible on the items listed and weighted as above. The actual GPA closely follows the following distribution where total weighted points are followed in () by the GPA: 100 (4.0); 95 (3.9); 90 (3.7); 85 (3.4); 80 (3.1); 75 (2.8); 70 (2.4); 65 (1.9); 60 (1.4); 55 (0.8); 50 (0.2); 45 (0.0). For more details see the description of grading procedures on the web site shown below. Exams may be taken at a remote site with instructor approval and if arrangements are made in advance.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Information for Spring quarter.
Last Update by B Bruce Bare
Date: 03/13/2014