Math 155 Class Policies
To introduce the concepts of statistical inference using both classical parametric methods and non-parametric methods. This course is intended for students in the social sciences and natural sciences who must make inferences from sample data.
You are expected to attend every class meeting. While this is important for any course, it is vital for a summer course, since each class meeting is approximately equivalent to one week of a regular course. If you miss a class, it will be very difficult to get caught up.
Attendance will not be an explicit component of your grade; however, if you do not attend all class meetings, then you are not likely to do well in this course. In particular, if you already know that will not be able to attend every class meeting in its entirety, then you should consider dropping this course.
Collected Homework & Minitab Labs
There will be a few collected homework assignments during the summer term. Most of these will require the use of Minitab. No prior experience with Minitab is assumed; its use will be demonstrated in class, and detailed instructions will be provided. Minitab is available on all computers on the SU network; if this is not convenient for you, then it is also possible to download a free 30-day trial version of Minitab for the summer term for use on your own computer. (See “Minitab” below; be aware that Minitab only runs under Windows.)
Altogether, Collected Homework & Minitab Lab assignments will count for 15% of your grade for this course.
Most homework assigned in this course will not be collected. In particular, “recommended homework” will be assigned for each section of the textbook that we cover – this will typically include most or all of the problems at the end of each section whose answers appear in the back of your textbook. (These are selected so that you can check your answers, to make sure you’re on the right track.) Recommended Homework problems will be discussed in class at the following class meeting, and the material in these assignments will be covered on quizzes and tests.
While these are not collected, and it’s not expected that you’ll do all of them, it is essential that you spend a significant amount of time – at least a couple of hours every day – working on several of these problems. If you do not devote at least as much time to working on practice problems as you spend in class, then you are unlikely to succeed in this course.
There will be frequent practice quizzes administered on MyClasses. These quizzes will be based on the material covered in class and on the assigned reading from the textbook. The purpose of these quizzes is to give you the opportunity to practice solving problems of the type found in the textbook, and to receive instant feedback on your work. You will be allowed to retake these quizzes as many times as you like, and only your best score on each quiz will be counted. Therefore, it's to your advantage to spend a lot of time on the practice quizzes, both as a means of studying the material and of improving your grade.
Altogether, the MyClasses practice quizzes will count for 10% of your course grade.
Note: The MyClasses practice quizzes are intended to supplement (not to replace) the practice exercises found in the textbook. You should spend a lot of time outside of class working on the exercises in the text as well -- this is discussed further under "recommended homework" above.
At each class meeting, we will introduce some new material from the textbook. A tentative schedule of coverage, which will be updated as necessary during the summer term, will appear on the class web page under the “schedule” link. (This link will also include a list of homework assignments and due dates.)
After each class meeting (i.e., that afternoon and/or evening), you will be expected to spend a few hours reading the text, working on some of the “recommended homework” (practice problems) and/or collected homework assignments, and completing the corresponding online quiz on MyClasses@SU.
Beginning with the second class meeting, we will begin each meeting by going over any questions you may have about the material introduced at the previous class (or from earlier classes, as needed). These questions should arise from any difficulties that you encounter while reading the book, working on practice problems, or taking the online quizzes. It is your responsibility to come to each class prepared with any questions you may have. Conversely, if you do understand the material covered in previous classes, then look for opportunities to help with answering other students’ questions. Ideally, the first part of each class meeting will be, at least part of the time, a group discussion of the course material, rather than just me lecturing at you.
There will be two tests during the semester, each of which will count for 20% of your semester grade. There will also be a cumulative final exam, which will count for 30% of your semester grade.
The test dates (the first two of which are tentative) are as follows:
Test #1: Monday, June 11
Test #2: Wednesday, June 20
Final Exam: Friday, June 29
Each test will assess your understanding of the material covered to that point. The first two test dates are subject to change; any such change will be announced at least one class meeting in advance. The final exam date is not subject to change.
Each of the first two tests will last for about 75 minutes. On each of these test dates, the first 40 minutes or so will be a (shortened) regular class meeting, which will probably be used for review. Then, we will take a brief break, to be followed by the test.
The final exam will be given on the last day of the summer term, June 29. You will have the full two hours of class time to complete the final exam.
There are no "re-tests" in this class. If you absolutely must miss a test, let me know about it as soon as possible (preferably beforehand), and provide some written verification for your excuse. If the missed exam is due to circumstances that are legitimately beyond your control (e.g., illness, car accident, family emergency), then your grade on the missed exam will be determined by your performance on the final exam and/or whatever other factors I determine to be appropriate.
Each student will write a critique of an article that uses statistical inference. This critique will count for 5% of your semester grade. The article critique assignment will be given during the last week of the summer term; instructions and further details will be provided at that time.
As explained above under “Attendance,” it is vital that you attend every class meeting of the summer term. It is unlikely that you will do well in this course if you miss class meetings.
All students are expected and encouraged to be active participants in the class. I will keep track of each student's level of participation throughout the semester. At the end of the semester, I will assign you a score -- typically a number between -2% and +2% (inclusive) -- based on your participation; this number will be added to your semester average. For example, if your semester average is 88%, but you earn a +2 participation score, then your average will be increased to 88%+2%=90%. (I reserve the right to assign participation scores of more than 2, or less than -2, in exceptional cases.)
There are many ways to participate -- some in-class, and others out-of-class.
In-class: As discussed above under “Class Meetings,” the first part of each class meeting will be devoted to questions arising from material introduced at the previous class meeting. This discussion is an opportunity for you to actively participate in class meetings by asking and/or answering questions. Also, I frequently ask questions during class, both during lecture and while demonstrating examples. Students who frequently make an effort to answer these questions, and/or ask relevant questions of their own, will get much more value from the class than those students who do not actively participate.
Out-of-class: "Participation" refers not just to classroom interaction, but more generally to taking an active role in your own education, rather than regarding it as something that just happens to you. This can certainly occur in locations other than a classroom. For example, visiting me during office hours and/or emailing me for help with a homework problem, or with questions about a lecture or the text, is another form of participation. I also consider visiting the department's tutoring center (see "tutoring" below) for help to be a form of out-of-class participation.
Negative Participation: Counter-productive and/or disrespectful behavior will impact your participation score in a negative way. These include, but are not limited to: disruption of a class meeting (this includes ringing cell phones, pagers, etc.); talking when you should be listening; sleeping in class; insulting and/or profane language, especially when directed at another person; arguing with me about your grades. (I'm always happy to discuss your grades with you, but I won't tolerate complaining, whining, etc. There is a difference!)
Electronic Device Policy
Any device capable of receiving calls, text messages, etc. is to be turned off and kept out of sight during class meetings - particularly during tests. Cell phone calculators are not allowed during tests. If your cell phone rings during class, or if you violate this policy in any other way, then your participation grade may be affected.
Computers: I neither encourage nor forbid the use of computers during class meetings (unless a test is being given, in which case they are prohibited). Any usage of a laptop or handheld computer must be appropriate to the classroom environment (e.g. taking notes, or finding a web page that is relevant to current class discussion). If your activity is inappropriate in any way that is distracting to any of your classmates, then you will be told to discontinue using the computer for the rest of the class meeting. Repeated violations of this type will result in a complete loss of computer privileges, as well as a substantial negative effect on your attendance/participation score.
Semester grades will be based on the following scale:
A (90-100%), B(80-89%), C(70-79%), D(60-69%), F(0-60%).
As described above, your semester average will be the weighted average of the following:
Grade component Weight
Two tests 40% (20% each)
Cumulative Final Exam 30%
Research Article Critique 5%
Homework & Labs 15%
Online Quizzes 10%
Email: It is your responsibility to check your email on a regular basis. If I send an email to your SU account, I will expect for you to have read it within 24 hours (not including weekends). If you do not intend to check your SU email account (firstname.lastname@example.org) regularly, then you must set up your SU account to forward your email to whatever account you do plan to check regularly. (Instructions for this are available from the SU Helpdesk.)
Grade Notification: Your grades on midterms, homework assignments and the final exam will be posted on MyClasses. To find out where you stand in the course, consult MyClasses or come to my office to discuss your grades confidentially. After the final exam is graded, of course, your grade for the course will be available on GullNet.
Collaboration: Students are encouraged to form study
groups, and to discuss any problems from the text that are not being turned in
as graded homework. However, for graded homework assignments such as labs, the
work and answers you turn in should be your own. The standard that applies to
any writing-intensive course applies here as well: if you turn in an assignment
with your name on it, you are asserting that what you have turned in is your own
Academic Integrity: Unless specifically instructed otherwise in class, you are to do your own work on all tests, collected assignments and quizzes. A student who is caught cheating on any graded assignment will receive no credit for that assignment, and may (at my discretion) receive an F for the course as well. If you receive an F for the course due to academic dishonesty, you will not be permitted to withdraw from the course to avoid the F on your grade report. Additionally, all occurrences of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Consult your student handbook (or ask me) to learn more about the consequences of such a report.
Once you have read through these policies, please send me an email to confirm that you understand and agree to these policies, and/or to ask any questions you may have. Thanks!
Last modified: 6/4/12
Kurt Ludwick (email@example.com)