Check this website for all information about the course.  Make sure that you buy the the textbook THIS week if have not already.  Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics. 

In addition, you will need to bring a flash drive to class with you.  You can get a 4 gigabyte Lexar flash drive for about $14 at Office Depot on Hamburg Turnpike.  You will need a flash drive to store the data files and class assignments.

Main Points from class today:

  • In this class, you will learn about how to manipulate data and generate statistics, tables and charts in Excel.  
  • This class is a resume-builder!  After you successfully complete this class, you can add the following statement to your resume: "Proficient in Excel."  
  • The world is awash in data.  Since so many of us are online so often, so many of our activities are recorded!  If you're online, you're generating data that is being collected by a computer somewhere and packaged together with information from millions of other people.   This is rather scary, but it is the world we live in.  In a world of data, it is very useful to know how to manipulate some of that data, and to know how to interpret the data and tell stories with the data.  We will use Excel to gain mastery over data!  
  • What do I mean by data?  When I refer to data, I'm referring to a rectangular matrix with rows and columns.  The rows often correspond to people, and the columns often contain characteristics of those people.  The Forbes list of the top 100 celebrities is an example of a dataset.  The rows are called cases.  The columns are called  variables.
  • Cases can be all kinds of things, individuals, organizations, nations, etc.  In one dataset however, all cases have to be the same KIND of thing.  You can't throw information about a state or a company into a dataset that consists of people  All cases in a dataset must be the same kind of thing.
  • Each class, I will give some pointers, and then pass out a set of instructions.  Your job will be to follow the instructions as carefully as you can and answer any questions along the way.  I encourage you to go at your own pace.  If you finish early, I encourage you to help others!  Teaching others will help you reinforce your knowledge.
  • Homework will consist of reading from the book and assignments in Excel as well.
  • Feel free to stay as long as you need to in order to finish the assignment.  Although the class technically ends at 8:30, I am perfectly willing to stay and help students answer questions and resolve problems until 10:00 pm if necessary.  I doubt anyone will want to stay beyond that time.
  • There will be three quarter tests and a final exam.  Dates of the tests are listed on the syllabus.  Note also the percentage of the grade that is based on each of the tests, and on in-class assignments.  All of this information is listed on the syllabus. 
  • On the tests, you will be expected to manipulate data in order to get information and calculate figures.  All tests will be online (blackboard) and open book.  The point here is to build data analysis skills, rather than to memorize a set of terms or facts.
  • We talked about different kinds of variables: nominal, ordinal and interval.  Some variables are not ordered -- these are nominal.  Examples include names of people, places and things, and social security numbers.  Other variables have order but are not precisely measured.  These variables are called ordinal.  Examples include survey responses about how happy you are (very happy, somewhat happy, not so happy), rankings of people as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.   If a variable tells you that someone is at a higher level than someone else, but not how much higher, than the variable is ordinal.  The third type of variable, interval, include those variables that are precisely measured and ordered.  Examples include money when measured in dollars, and age measured in years.  If its countable, its interval.
  • No order = nominal.
  • Order but imprecise & not countable = ordinal
  • Ordered precisely and countable = interval.