Math 113 - Introduction to Applied Statistics: Spring 2013 Syllabus

James Jones, Professor of Mathematics
Mathematics & Sciences Division, Richland Community College

Course Meeting Information

Instructor Information

James Jones, Professor of Mathematics.
Phone: 875-7211, ext 490
Office: C223

Office Hours

These are the times I'm scheduled to be in my office. I often spend portions of my office hour in the classroom helping students, so if I'm not in my office, check room S137. If these times are not convenient for you, please see me to make an appointment for some other time.


Most of the material in the course will be presented through lecture and web pages. For those who wish to have a book for reference purposes, here is one that will work (and is inexpensive).

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Statistics, 2nd edition. Robert A. Donnelly, Jr. Copyright 2007, Alpha Books. ISBN 978-1-59257-634-0 (Optional).

Student Audience

Transfer students in all disciplines. This is a general education course that meets the mathematics requirements for graduation, it does not lead to another course in statistics.


Successful completion (C or better grade) in Math 098 or satisfactory score on the Mathematics placement exam.

Course Description

MATH 113 - Introduction to Applied Statistics

Hours: 4 lecture - 0 lab - 4 credit

Math 113 is a beginning level course for the student in elementary applied statistics. Topics include basic statistical principles; graphic presentation; descriptive measures of central tendency, dispersion, and location; inferential statistics and hypothesis testing; analysis and inference of linear correlation coefficient and slope of regression line. Students will apply statistical concepts to real world situations. Current technology will be utilized in examining statistical information. A graphing calculator is required.

Applicable toward graduation where program structure permits.

Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI)

The Illinois Articulation Initiative is a statewide transfer agreement. Their website is at

Math 113, Introduction to Applied Statistics, satisfies the Illinois Articulation Initiative Definition of a General Education Mathematics Course. It corresponds to M1902, General Education Statistics.

General Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, a student should be able to:

The numbered superscripts refer to the Richland Cross-Disciplinary Outcomes addressed by that objective.

Type of Instruction

Instruction in this course will primarily occur through project-based learning. Along with this, we will use discussion, problem solving, activities, individual and group work, student questions, student participation, and lecture. Students are expected to have read the material before class and are strongly encouraged to come to class with a list of questions and to ask these questions. A substantial portion of this class will involve collaborative work with other students.

Method of Evaluation

Evaluation could include any of the following: problem solving exams, objective exams, essays, research papers, oral presentations, group projects, individual projects, classroom participation, classroom activities, quizzes, and homework.

This course will use a non-traditional approach to evaluation. There will be no exams. Instead, the course will be project-based with near-daily assessment of your progress. These regular assessments will, for the most part, be incorporated into the class presentation. The instructor will ask questions; you will provide feedback, and that will be used to help determine your grade. You will provide your responses electronically so that you can get immediate feedback on whether or not you understand the material and the instructor can get a sense of where the class is. The instructor can then use this information to make adjustments in the schedule. Because these are incorporated into the course, there is no way to make up these assessments if you miss class.

Sometimes your responses will be used as a participation grade. When this happens, you are awarded points for being in class and providing feedback. It doesn't matter whether or not you get the right answer and sometimes there won't even be a right answer. Participation will compose 10% of your overall grade in the course. These points cannot be made up if you miss class.

Other times the feedback will be used to assess how well you have learned and can apply the concepts being taught. In these cases, you will be awarded points for providing the correct answers to the questions. Some instructors drop the lowest quiz (or two), but because these assessments will be worth different amounts of points, that becomes difficult to do. Instead, there will be a 10% grace factor applied to these assessments. That means that if you take a 10 point quiz, it will get recorded in the grade book as being a 9 point quiz. If you happen to score 10 points on it, then you have a little extra to help your grade. Conceptual understanding will compose 50% of your overall grade in the course. These points cannot be made up if you miss class.

The other main component of the course will be projects. Some of these projects will be individual and some of them will involve group work. Projects will compose 40% of your overall grade in the course. Projects are due at 5:00 pm on the due date. For the mini-projects, which are essentially quick group projects worked over 1-2 days in class, lack of attendance will lower your grade proportional to the amount of class you missed. Projects may be turned in late, but they will lose 20% of their value for each class period they are late.

Grading Policy

Letter grades will be assigned to final adjusted scores as follows:

The final score will be weighted according to these three categories:

There is a web page available so that you can use to check your grades throughout the semester. If you are concerned about your grades, see the instructor.

There is no rounding of grades or extra credit in this course beyond the 10% grace factor on the concept assessments. The course is a marathon, not a sprint at the end. You must perform consistently throughout the semester to earn a good grade. If you are one point short of the next higher grade at the end of the semester, you will get the lower grade.

Concept quizzes and participation points cannot be made up.

Projects will be due at 5 pm on the due date unless otherwise noted. Late assignments lose 20% of their value per class period. The student must notify the instructor that late work has been submitted.

No late work will be accepted after the final.

Written Work

All written work should be in a typed (word processor) format. There should be a cover page with the title of the assignment and the student's name. All work should be double spaced. Papers are to be stapled together in the upper left hand corner. All reference works used, including books, videos, etc., are to be cited using APA (preferred) or MLA notation. All work is to utilize the English language correctly. It is suggested that the Academic Success Center be utilized for assistance in the preparation of written work. If written work is submitted late, the instructor may take appropriate deductions from the grade.

Attendance Policy

If you miss the first day of class or any two consecutive days after that without communicating with the instructor, you may be dropped.

Attendance is recorded every class period. Since the course does not directly follow a textbook, attendance is the primary method of obtaining the information in the course. Statistics is a cumulative subject and each day builds on the previous day's material.

Students who, because of excessive absences, cannot complete the course successfully, are required to be administratively dropped from the class at midterm. If a student stops attending after midterm, it is the student's responsibility to withdraw to avoid an "F". Do not stop attending and assume that you will be withdrawn from the class by the instructor.

The student is responsible for all assignments, changes in assignments, or other verbal or written information given in the class, whether in attendance or not. There will be some kind of assessment almost nearly every day as part of the classroom presentation. These may not be made up if you miss class (you may attend the other section of the course on the same day provided that there are available seats).

If a student must miss class, a call to the instructor (RCC's phone system has an answering system) should be made or an email message (preferred) sent.


A calculator is required for this course. It does not have to be a graphing calculator, but it should be a scientific calculator with the ability to square a number and find the square root of a value. You are responsible for knowing how to use your calculator. If you do not know, then ask. Bring the calculator every day to class.

Additional Supplies

The student should bring a pencil, paper, and calculator to class each day. You may occasionally want a ruler or graph paper. There will be a paper punch and stapler in the classroom.

Collaborative Work

This is an applied statistics course. We will be doing several activities and projects in this course that require group work. Much of this time will be spent in the classroom, but there will also be time outside of class required. Computer software will be used for analysis of the data.

Some of these projects will be designed by the instructor and involve the entire class. One of the projects will be a small group project designed by each individual group and approved by the instructor. This final project will include a written paper and oral presentation of the results to the class of their findings.


The use of technology in this course is consistent with the Technology Statement in the Illinois Mathematics & Computer Science Articulation Guide (IMACC, 2008, p. 4). Technology is used to enhance the learning of Statistics, but it is not the focus of the instruction.

This course makes heavy use of technology. It is highly recommended that students be familiar with the following software before attempting this course: e-mail, internet web browser, word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation software. In addition, students should be able to perform file navigation and understand the different types of files and the role of file extensions in naming. Richland offers free workshops for students who need additional computer literacy skills. Students who have weak technology skills may feel overwhelmed by the technology used in the class.

Most of the technology we're going to use is free, open source, or web-based so that there is no additional cost to the students and you can use them after you leave this course. Some software is commercial, but in those cases, Richland Community College has a license to use them. Here is a list of some of the computer packages we will be using in this course.


Minitab is the statistical software package of choice for this class. It is powerful and makes nice graphs. Minitab is fairly easy to use if you are familiar with a spreadsheet like Excel.

Minitab is installed on the computers in S137, the Academic Success Center, and the Open Computer Lab. Richland's license for Minitab does not allow for home use, but students will be able to get most of their work done at school. There is a 30 day trial version of Minitab available on the web for downloading at You may also purchase a six month copy that will last the entire semester. Minitab is available only for Windows.

The number one suggestion from former students is to rent Minitab so that you don't have to stay at school to do your work.


This class is very collaborative in nature; in other words, there will be a lot of group work. In previous semesters, we've used MediaWiki as a collaboration tool, but the learning curve on it was pretty steep and students began to feel the class was about the technology rather than about statistics.

Google has an online system called "Google Drive" (formerly called Google Docs) that provides access to documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and drawings. With the exception of the forms, these can be shared and edited by more than one user at a time.

Question Press

Question Press is a web-based classroom and audience response system. It allows for interactive quizzing, feedback, and participation. It works from desktop computers and mobile devices and will be the main instrument used for assessing classroom performance.

The instructor's Question Press page is at

Other Software and Websites

This course is fluid and other software packages or websites may be incorporated into the class.

Additional Help

The student is encouraged to seek additional help when the material is not comprehended. Mathematics is a cumulative subject; therefore, getting behind is a very difficult situation for the student. There are several places where you can seek additional help in your classes.


I try to make myself as available to the students as I can. My office hours are listed at the beginning of this syllabus, but those are just the times I'm scheduled to be in my office. Grab me and ask me questions if you see me in the hallway. Ask questions before or after class. If I'm in my office and it's not my scheduled office hours, go ahead and stop in.

The instructor should be considered the authoritative source for material related to this class. If a tutor or other student says something that disagrees with the instructor, believe the instructor.

Study Groups

Probably the best thing you can do for outside help is to form a study group with other students in your class. Work with those students and hold them accountable. You will understand things much better if you explain it to someone else and study groups will also keep you focused, involved, and current in the course.

Academic Success Center

The Academic Success Center consolidates several student services into one area. It is located in the south wing of the first floor next to the Kitty Lindsay Learning Resources Center (library).


The testing center is located in room S116. You must provide a photo identification and know the name of your instructor to use this service.

Quality tutors for the upper level mathematics are difficult to find. Please consider forming a study group among your classmates.


The tutoring center provides tutoring on a walk-in or appointment basis in room S118. They also have computers with the mathematical software loaded on it.


There are accommodations available for students who need extended time on tests, note takers, readers, adaptive computer equipment, braille, enlarged print, accessible seating, sign language interpreters, books on tape, taped classroom lectures, writers, or tutoring. If you need one of these services, then you should see Learning Accommodation Services in room C148. If you request an accommodation, you will be required to provide documentation that you need that accommodation.

Academic Dishonesty

Each student is expected to be honest in his/her class work or in the submission of information to the College. Richland regards dishonesty in classroom and laboratories, on assignments and examinations, and the submission of false and misleading information to the College as a serious offense.

A student who cheats, plagiarizes, or furnishes false, misleading information to the College is subject to disciplinary action up to and including failure of a class or suspension/expulsion from the College.

Non-Discrimination Policy

Richland Community College policy prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, marital or parental status, national origin or ancestry, age, mental or physical disability (except where it is a bonafide occupational qualification), sexual orientation, military status, status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran.

Electronic Communication Devices

The Mathematics and Sciences Division prohibits the use of cell phones, pagers, and other non-learning electronic communication equipment within the classroom. All equipment must be turned off to avoid disturbances to the learning environment. If a student uses these devices during an examination, quiz, or any graded activity, the instructor reserves the right to issue no credit for these assignments. The instructor needs to approve any exceptions to this policy.

Richland Cross-Disciplinary Outcomes

The course objectives listed in this document make reference to these items.

  1. The degree-seeking student will be able to communicate effectively (read, write, speak and listen).
  2. The degree-seeking student will think critically and creatively.
  3. The degree-seeking student will manage technology and evaluate information in various research and applied contexts.
  4. The degree-seeking student will act professionally and responsibly.

Topical Outline

This course is going to be data driven and fluid. Instead of having a textbook that defines how much time is spent on each topic, it will be the data that defines how much time is spent. We will take a data set and fully explore it, beginning with the context of the data, describing it visually and numerically, and then using inferential statistics to perform confidence intervals and hypothesis tests. When we have exhausted one set of data, we will move on to another and repeat the process to learn new material.

That makes defining how much time will be spent on each topic very difficult. The following topical outline is an estimate of how much time will be spent on each topic and is aligned with the chapters in the textbook. However, we won't be using learning the material in this order.

Descriptive Statistics – 14 hours

Probability – 14 hours

Inferential Statistics – 15 hours

Advanced Inferential Statistics – 18 hours

* The multiple regression and two-way ANOVA sections are not covered in the textbook. They will be covered in class if time permits.