All course information (including the homework assignments!) is posted here; Canvas is used
only for grades and a place to post the text book.
Topics and rough schedule:
The schedule will be roughly as follows:
Random outcomes and the rules of probability Conditional probability and independence
Approximations of the binomial distribution
Transformations of random variables Joint distributions
Sums and symmetry
Expectation and variance
You're supposed to come. (To every class.)
Reading and group quizzes:
Reading the book and attending (and actively learning from!) the lectures are complementary, and it's
important to do both.
Before each class, please read the section to be covered in the
next lecture (we'll go through the book in order — I'll announce
any exceptions in class). You will be placed in a group of four at the
beginning of the semester; each class will start with a short group quiz based on the material you read in preparation for class.
How much you work on
the homework problems is probably the
single biggest factor in determining how much you get out of the course.
If you are having trouble with the problems, please come ask for help; you will
learn much more (and probably get a rather better grade) if you figure out
all of the homework problems, possibly with help in office hours or from your classmates, than if you
do them alone when you can and skip the ones you can't. Students are
welcome to work together on figuring out the homework, but you should write up the
solutions on your own.
Each lecture has specific homework problems associated to it, as listed
in the chart below. I strongly suggest doing the homework the same day
as the corresponding lecture (see in particular this figure titled "The value of rehearsal
after a lecture"). Homework will be collected weekly.
The homework is meant to be a mix of relatively straightforward
exercises and harder problems. Don't worry too much if you find
some of it hard, but do continue to struggle with it; that's the way
The next stage after the struggle of figuring out a problem is
writing down a solution; you learn a lot here, too. The
homework assignments are writing assignments, and what you turn in
should be polished (edited!) English prose with well-reasoned,
complete arguments. I should be able to give your solutions to
another student who has never thought about the problems (or did, but
didn't figure them out), and she should
be able to read and understand them.
There will be four
hour-long quizzes throughout the term. These are closed book, closed
notes. The tentative dates are: February 6, February 27, March 31, April 28.