Math 343
Probability and Statistics
Fall 2014

Course Home Page

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Course Description

Randall Pruim
office: North Hall 284
phone: (616) 526-7113

Time & Location
Section A Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 1:30-2:20, in North Hall 261

Office Hours
TBA or by appointment. Generally, it is easiest to drop me an email and see what times work for both of us -- or just swing by my office and see if I am there.

Course Objectives

Math 343 (and 344) is an interesting (and sometimes challenging) mixture of statistics, mathematics, and computation. While it is not always easy to separate these three strands, they provide a useful framework for stating the learning objectives for this course. In this course students will In addition, we will encounter the application of statistics in a wide range of interesting application areas.

Internet Resources

I will maintain an email list of all students registered in this class and will occasionally use it to distribute information and reminders of various things pertaining to this course. If you prefer to read your email from an account other than your calvin student account and do not have it set up to forward automatically, send me email with the email address you prefer.

Please check your email daily. You are responsible for any information communicated via email.

Web Pages
In addition to this home page, I will also maintain a list of web resources pertaining to this course. You are responsible for any information appearing on the course web pages. Items I have prepared and maintain online include

For quick access to these and other resources, see the navigation bar at the top of this page.

Other Important Information

See me
If you are having difficulty with any portion of the course, do not hesitate to see me. Do this as soon as possible, certainly well in advance of any deadlines (like tests) so that we can work to fix the problem.

The required text for this course is
Foundations and Appications of Statistics
It is available from the Calvin Campus Store.

You can get an errata list for this book here.

Grading will be based on the following approximate weighting:
15% Homework, etc.
60% 3 Tests (see calendar for tentative dates)
25% Final Exam on Wed, Dec 10 @ 1:30pm.

Tests should be taken when they are scheduled. I do not generally offer make-up, alternate or late tests. Instead, if you miss one test (for any reason) or if your final exam score is better than your worst test, then your final exam score will be substituted for that test.

When we need a statistics package in this course to ease our calculations or visualizations, we will use a program called R. R is a very powerful statistical tool and programming language and is being actively developed by statisticians from all over the world who contribute to the main program, its interface, or the many add-on modules (called packages) that are available to handle specialized tasks. R is free and available for Mac, PC, or Linux. It has also been installed on the computers in the Mathematics and Statistics Computer Lab (basement of North Hall) and on some other machines around campus (CS lab and Engineering lab, I think).

Recently, the RStudio company has provided an excellent integrated development environment for R. This is the current best and easiest way to use R. Furthermore, we have set up an RStudio server on campus that allows you to run R in a web browser without any need to install the software yourself. Your session is restored each time you return, and you can work on multiple computers without losing your work when you move from one to another.

If you prefer to install R and RStudio on your own machine, the software is free and easy to install on Macs, PCs, and linux boxes. You can get R at and RStudio at

Special Circumstances
Occasionally there are special circumstances that require that the rules and guidelines above be adjusted for a particular student. In such cases, it is the responsibility of the student to inform me of the situation as soon as possible, so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. This includes, but is not limited to, students with documented disabilities.

This page maintained by:
Randall Pruim
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Calvin College

Last Modified: Thursday, 07-Sep-2017 16:19:59 EDT