MA 251A         Probability and Statistics              Fall 2008

PROFESSOR: George Ashline

TEXTBOOK: Hogg and Tanis, Probability and Statistics Inference, 7th ed., Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.

CLASS MEETS: M, W, F from 8:15-9:20 AM in Jeanmarie 281

OFFICE: Jeanmarie 261, Phone: 654-2434

OFFICE HOURS: M, W: 1:30 2:30 PM, T: 12:30 2:00 PM, F: 2 3:00 PM;

appointments available for other times.


eCOLLEGE and HOMEPAGE: I will post course assignments, solutions, updates and other materials at our eCollege site at  You should log into this site today and visit it regularly over the term. I will periodically send out e-mail updates and these will also be posted at this site.  Other course materials are available through the “Doc Sharing” portion of the site. You can access other information about this course and my other courses at

HOMEWORK: Problems will be assigned regularly. Each problem set will have a specified due date. Late problem sets will not be accepted.  You are strongly encouraged to start the homework early, and if you are having difficulty with some of the new concepts, try to resolve your questions before they have a chance to grow. You are more than welcome to stop by my office to ask questions or discuss any concerns that you may have.

EXAMS: There will be three in-class exams during the semester and a comprehensive final exam. To provide regular feedback and the most flexibility, the exams will be given every month or so on Thursday evenings (replacing the subsequent Friday classes).  The tentative schedule for the exams is:

Exam 1

Thu, September 25

Exam 2

Thu, October 23

Exam 3

Thu, November 20

Final Exam

Fri, December 19 in the morning; – scheduled time


Re-schedule for Thu, PM or earlier?

If you know of a conflict with any exam date, please let me know as soon as possible beforehand.

GRADING: Grades will be based on homework and on the quizzes and exams according to the following distribution:


170 points

Two highest semester exams

110 points each

Lowest semester exam

60 points

Final exam

150 points

Your final grade will thus be based on 600 total points.  Make-up exams will not be given, unless a verifiable emergency has arisen, and you notify me beforehand.  If there are any changes made in the above information (for example, a test date being moved), it is your responsibility to know them.                                

LEARNING DISABILITIES: Any student having a documented learning disability that may affect the learning of mathematics is invited to consult privately with me during the first week of the semester so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY:  You are reminded of the academic integrity policy of Saint Michael’s College.  Simply stated, academic integrity requires that the work you complete for this class is your own.  Some examples of offenses against academic integrity include plagiarism, unauthorized assistance, interference, and interference using information technology.  Details about academic integrity offenses and the possbile sanctions resulting from them have been distributed at the beginning of the academic year and also can be found in the Assistant Dean’s office.

Class Attendance:  The following is taken from the Saint Michael’s College 2008-09 Online Catalogue under “Academic Regulations”:

“Students should understand that the main reason for attending college is to be guided in their learning activities by their professors.  This guidance takes place primarily in the classroom and the laboratory.

The following policies have been established:

1. Members of the teaching faculty and students are expected to meet all scheduled classes unless prevented from doing so by illness or other emergencies.

2. The instructor of a course will set the attendance policy for the course.

3. The instructor may report excessive absences to the Assistant Dean of the College, who may warn the student.


          Go for extra help, do the homework early (not the night before), and study hard.

          Wake up early, and be ready to learn; also, be prepared to put in a ton of effort;                                                  start work early and study for a long time.

          See professor as much as needed, do NOT procrastinate in this course, take good notes, ask questions, and look over notes daily to help keep up.

          Study early for exams throughout the semester & make sure things make sense as you go along.

          Even when you think you don’t have any questions, start the homework early so you have time for a meeting, because you may need it!

          Look over notes after class and understand what’s going on before the next class.

          Study everyday, at least for a little bit.  Go over class notes before class.  Get help early!

          Ask for help if you are not understanding the Material because the work builds on each other.  Stay up to date on the HW and start to study early for the Exams.

          Start homework early enough so that if you have questions there is enough time to meet to clear them up.  I filled out the flow chart/organizers every week including things like definitions, examples, and propositions/lemmas/theorems/corollaries that go along with them.  When it came time for exams I felt that it was very helpful to have these study aids prepared instead of having to do it all at once.  As always, come to class and see professor who is there to help.

          (1) Only take this class if your prepared to work hard.                                                                                        (2) Graphic organizers are very helpful.                                                                                                         (3)  Don’t stress during the test or you will not be able to work to your potential.