Mathematics 160 :  R/ Elements of Chance
Fall 2008


Professor:          Jeff Johannes                                 Section 1    MWF  10:30-11:20a    Sturges 105
Office:               South 326A                                
Telephone:         5403 (245-5403)                                                            
Office Hours:    Monday 1:30 - 2:30p, Tuesday 8:00 - 9:00p, Wednesday 11:30a - 12:20p, Thursday 8:00 - 9:00p, Friday 1:30 - 2:30p, and by appointment or visit
Email Address:

Course Materials
    Seeing Through Statistcs by Jessica M. Utts
    Additional handouts of reading, problems, and activities will be provided

      This course will help you think about statistics and probability, how to identify the tools needed to study a particular problem, and how to read and critically evaluate quantitative information presented in the media. The course format involves extensive reading and discussion of newspaper and journal articles, writing assignments, and student projects.

    Your grade in this course will be based upon your performance on various aspects.  The weight assigned to each is designated below:
                   Exams:                                                                  Project:                 20%
                    each of 4         15%                                              Reading Quizzes  10%
                                                                                                 Small Writeups     10%

    With each day of lecture, I will suggest several exercises that are relevant for practising from that day's lesson.  I will not grade these exercises, but will gladly discuss or look at them.    

Reading Quizzes
    You are responsible for reading the chapters before the first day they are discussed in class.  The schedule is given below.  Occasionally - as I see it necessary - we will have short (five minute) reading quizzes to check that the reading is being done.  As the class shows this is not necessary, they will become less frequent.  The reading quizzes may be as straight forward as - "Write enough to convince me you did the reading."

    For your project you are responsible for finding an article in a print newspaper which references a statistical study.  Then find the original study referenced.  Write your own analysis of the study using ideas from class, then comment on the analysis presented in the newspaper.  Present your project for at least 5 minutes during the last day of class and the final exam period.  The components of the project will be divided as follows:  10% news article, 10% journal source, 25% draft, 25% presentation and 30% final paper..

    There will be four exams during the semester.  If you must miss an exam, it is necessary that you contact me before the exam begins.  Exam questions will be taken directly from the exercises suggested for each section.  

Small Writeups
    This final category is for anything that arises in the course of the semester.  I reserve the right to scale the 10% back and score the course out of a corresponding less than 100%

   Occasionally you will be given anonymous feedback forms.  Please use them to share any thoughts or concerns for how the course is running.  Remember, the sooner you tell me your concerns, the more I can do about them.  I have also created a web-site which accepts anonymous comments.  If we have not yet discussed this in class, please encourage me to create a class code.  This site may also be accessed via our course page on a link entitled anonymous feedback.  Of course, you are always welcome to approach me outside of class to discuss these issues as well.

Social Psychology
    Wrong answers are important.  We as individuals learn from mistakes, and as a class we learn from mistakes.  You may not enjoy being wrong, but it is valuable to the class as a whole - and to you personally.  We frequently will build correct answers through a sequence of mistakes.  I am more impressed with wrong answers in class than with correct answers on paper.  I may not say this often, but it is essential and true.  Think at all times - do things for reasons.  Your reasons are usually more interesting than your choices.  Be prepared to share your thoughts and ideas.  Perhaps most importantly "No, that's wrong." does not mean that your comment is not valuable or that you need to censor yourself.  Learn from the experience, and always try again.  Don't give up.  

Religious Holidays
    It is my policy to give students who miss class because of observance of religious holidays the opportunity to make up missed work.  You are responsible for notifying me by September 5 of plans to observe a holiday.  

Schedule (subject to change)

Date              Topic                     
August 25     Introduction
        27          Chapter 1
        29          2

September 3  3
        5            3                                                                                       
        8            4
        10          5
        12          6

        15          6
        17          Review
        19          Exam 1                                        

        22          7                          Submit newspaper source  for project.
        24          7                               
        26          8                                                              
        29          9
October 1      10
        3            10                               
        6            11                        Submit journal source for project
        8            12
        10          12                                                       

        15          Review                                                                       
        17          Exam 2

        20          13                                                                               
        22          13                        Submit complete draft of project.
        24          13                                                                           

        27         14                                                              
        29         15
        31         16   
November 3 16
        5           Review
        7           Exam 3

        10         17                                                                            
        12         19                                            
        14         20
        17         Survey                                                                                                                          
        19         21
        21         21                            

        24         22                                                           

        1           23
        3           review
        5           Exam 4                                                  

        8           Project Presentations   Submit written final project.                                                 

Friday, December 12    8 - 11a    Project Presentations