Statistics 460
Intermediate Applied Statistics
Fall 2001

General Information

General Information - Course Outline - HW Assignments - Minitab Assignments

I've posted some review materials for the final exam.
SCHEDULE: MWF 4:40-5:30 PM in 117 Thomas

INSTRUCTOR: David Hunter, 310 Thomas Building, 863-0979,
OFFICE HOURS: Tuesdays 2:00-3:00 and Fridays 10:00-11:00, or by appointment

ASSISTANT: Hong Xu, 316 Thomas Building, 863-3238,
OFFICE HOURS: Thursdays 1:00-2:00

REQUIRED TEXT: Ramsey, Fred L. and Schafer, Daniel W. (1997). The Statistical Sleuth: A Course in Methods of Data Analysis. Duxbury Press.

COURSE OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this course, briefly put, are twofold: To learn to apply appropriately a wide range of statistical techniques for data analysis and to acquire rudimentary skills in Minitab, a popular statistical software program. Although there will be some review of material seen in introductory statistics classes, such review will move quickly because students are assumed to have learned introductory material previously. Because of the applied focus of the class, a strong emphasis will be placed on case studies; this emphasis is evident in the textbook for the course. The following quotation from the preface of the textbook sums up the course objective well:

"The level of sophistication for this text is high when it comes to models and methods needed to analyze data and interpret results, but low when it comes to mathematics. Our foremost concern is that future researchers learn proper approaches for conducting the statistical aspects of their research."

Modern applied statistics requires the use of computers, and statistical software will be necessary for most homework assignments. Therefore, a secondary objective of the course is to learn about Minitab.

SUMMARY OF COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Requirements for the course include brief Minitab assignments in lieu of some Friday classes, occasional in-class quizzes, homework assignments (most of which involve the use of a computer), an in-class midterm, and a final exam.

Quizzes 0-10%
Minitab assignments 10%
Homework 30-40%
Midterm 20%
Final 30%

QUIZZES: Occasionally, I may give a short quiz in class. Such a quiz might be announced or unannounced, so it is important to let me know when you will not be in class just in case we have a quiz that day: quizzes may not be made up, but if you miss a quiz because of an excused absence that quiz simply will not count in your grade. If you miss a quiz for an unexcused absence, the quiz grade will count as a zero. Quizzes will all be worth the same number of points, and at the end of the semester your quiz average will comprise up to 10% of your grade, depending on how many quizzes we've had. The remainder of that 10% (if there is any) will be absorbed by the homework grade.

MINITAB ASSIGNMENTS Partly because of our, well, unusual schedule, which has us in class until 5:30 on Friday afternoons, I've decided to try an experiment this semester. On some (NOT ALL) Fridays, there will be a lab assignment for you to complete on your own time, to be turned in sometime that day on email. On these days, we will not meet for class. It will involve completing some kind of task using Minitab, then emailing me the results and the answers to one or two short questions about those results. Check the course outline to see the schedule of Fridays when we won't have class.

These assignments will be posted on the course webpage sometime before Thursday afternoon and the email to me will be due by midnight the next day (Friday). I will be available to answer questions on Friday, either by email or at my office hour from 10:00-11:00. Because I might not be around after noon on Friday, I strongly urge you to get these assignments out of the way as early as possible, in case you have questions. Most weeks, however, I'll be in my office during the regular class time, in which case you're welcome to stop by with questions.

To use the personal computers on campus, you must obtain an Access Account. Students who are registered for one or more credits are automatically assigned an Access Account. To request activation of the account, students must present a Penn State photo ID to CAC staff at 12 Willard Building, 215 Computer Building, 230 Computer Building or any CAC lab in which a lab attendant is on duty. Normally the account is ready within 24 hours. Minitab will be an integral part of the homework during the later part of the course. Minitab is freely available on Penn State PCs and Macs. The windows PC version of Minitab has the best features and its use is encouraged.

For personal use, a student may purchase a copy of Minitab through the University Micro Computer Center in 12 Willard Bldg for about $90. It is a useful software package even for work outside this course. Alternatively, a temporary (5-month) Minitab license is available from for $26.

HOMEWORK: Weekly homework will be assigned in class on Wednesdays and will typically consist of 6-10 problems from the text and/or Minitab exercises. These homework problems will then be due the following Wednesday in class. Homework assignments and Solutions are posted on the web.

In order to receive credit, homework must be handed in before 5:00 PM the Wednesday it is due. If you will be gone the Wednesday homework is due, you must arrange to hand it in before then. The only exceptions are cases in which you arrange an extension with me, which must be done before the homework is due.

I will not accept late homework for credit. At the end of the term, your lowest homework grade will be dropped.

FINAL EXAM The final exam will be comprehensive. Because of this it will be an open book and open note format.

SICKNESS AND COMPASSIONATE WAIVERS: The policies outlined above regarding quizzes and homeworks will be strictly enforced, even in the case of missed class due to sickness. In unusual circumstances, I may override these policies; such decisions will be solely at my discretion.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: All Penn State and Eberly College of Science policies regarding academic integrity apply to this course. See for details.

Last modified: August 14, 2001