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The class will differ from traditional math classes in organization as well as in content: The class meetings will emphasize group discussions, rather than the more traditional lecture format. Students will keep journals to record their thoughts and questions, along with their assignments. There will be a major final project in place of a final exam.

Scheduled meetings

The class meets from 1:00 to 2:20 on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Room 103 Peterson Hall. Due to the interactive nature of the course, you will be expected to come to class, and engage whole-heartedly in the discussions.

Discussion groups

We want to enable everyone to be engaged in discussions while at the same time preserving the unity of the course. From time to time, we will break into discussion groups of 3-6 people.

Every member of each group is expected to take part in the discussion and to make sure that everyone is involved: that everyone is being heard, everyone is listening, that the discussion is not dominated by one or two people, that everyone understands what is going on, and that the group sticks to the subject and really digs in.

After a suitable time, we will ask for reports to the entire class. These will not be formal reports. Rather, we will hold a summary discussion between the teachers and reporters from the individual groups.


The required text for the course is Freedman, Pisani, Purves, and Adhikari, Statistics, 2nd edition. It is available at the University Bookstore.

Computer Lab

We will be using the student version of the statistical software package Data Desk. This package runs on Macintosh computers. Copies of this package, including a well-written manual, should be available in the Bookstore by the beginning of next week. You will be able to run your copy of this package on the machines in the Macintosh Lab in Rooms B-325 and B-337 in the basement of AP&M.


Each participant should keep a journal for the course. While assignments given at class meetings go in the journal, the journal is for much more: for independent questions, ideas, and projects. The journal is not for class notes, but for work outside of class. The style of the journal will vary from person to person. Some will find it useful to write short summaries of what went on in class. Any questions suggested by the class work should be in the journal. The questions can be either speculative questions or more technical questions. You may also want to write about the nature of the class meetings and group discussions: what works for you and what doesn't work, etc.

You are encouraged to cooperate with each other in working on anything in the course, but what you put in your journal should be you. If it is something that has emerged from work with other people, write down who you have worked with. Ideas that come from other people should be given proper attribution. If you have referred to sources other than the texts for the course, cite them.

Exposition is important. If you are presenting the answer to a question, explain what the question is. If you are giving an argument, explain what the point is before you launch into it. What you should aim for is something that could communicate to a friend or a colleague a coherent idea of what you have been thinking and doing in the course.

Your journal should be kept on loose leaf paper. Journals will be collected periodically to be read and commented on. If they are on loose leaf paper, you can hand in those parts which have not yet been read, and continue to work on further entries. Pages should be numbered consecutively and except when otherwise instructed, you should hand in only those pages which have not previously been read. Write your name on each page, and, in the upper right hand corner of the first page you hand in each time, list the pages you have handed in (e.g. [7,12] on page 7 will indicate that you have handed in 6 pages numbered seven to twelve).

Journals will be collected and read as follows:


To supplement the discussion in class and assignments to be written about in your journals, we will assign readings from FPPA, together with accompanying homework. When you write the solutions to these homework problems, you should keep them separate from your journals. These homework assignments will be passed in on Thursdays.


We will be assisted in teaching this course by two TA's: Mark Foskey and Greg Moore. They will hold tutorial sessions on Wednesdays in AP&M2402 from 5:00 to 5:50. In these sessions, they will answer any questions you may have about the homework, journal assignments, topics covered in class or in the textbook, using Data Desk, final projects, etc.

Final project

We will not have a final exam for the course, but in its place, you will undertake a major project. The major project may be a paper investigating more deeply some topic we touch on lightly in class, or a topic that might arise in one of your other classes. Alternatively, you could design and carry out your own study. Or you might choose to do a computer-based project. To give you some ideas, a list of possible projects will be circulated. However, you are also encouraged to come up with your own ideas for projects.

At the end of the course we will hold a CHANCE Carnival, where you will have a chance to present your project to the class as a whole, and to demonstrate your mastery of applied probability by playing various games of chance.


Your grade in the course will be determined by your work on journal and class discussion (30%), homework (30%), and final project (40%).

Next: AIDS testing Up: CHANCE Previous: Content
Tue Jun 28 15:24:59 EDT 1994