INTRODUCTION TO PROBABILITY
University of Virginia, Spring 2020
This syllabus will be adjusted as necessary, as the university has closed due to coronavirus.
Course Location: Monroe 118
Course Time: TuTh 11-12:15 (Lecture 4); TuTh 12:30-1:45 (Lecture 3)
Instructor: David Sherman
Office: 211 Kerchof Hall
Office Hours: T 2-3, W 1-3
Office Phone: 924-7079
Course webpage: handouts and assignments are on the course Collab page, while this syllabus and a developing timetable are at http://people.virginia.edu/~des5e/S20,3100/base.html and linked to Collab
Prerequisite: The course uses multiple integrals, so the math department considers MATH 2310 as the prerequisite. The enforced prerequisite, however, is just UVa credit for MATH 1320 (Calculus II). Students who have only taken MATH 1220 are eligible for STAT 3110, a similar course offered by the Statistics department that counts toward the stat major but not the math major.
Textbook: Introduction to Probability by Anderson/Seppalainen/Valko
Course content: This is a first course in probability, which is the study of random phenomena. We will attempt to cover all the core sections of the textbook. The topics include the axioms of probability, counting techniques, random variables, conditional probability, the most important discrete and continuous probability distributions, expectations, moment generating functions, multivariate distributions, the law of large numbers, and the central limit theorem.
Exams: There will be two evening midterms (TBD) and a final exam (Friday May 1, 7-10 PM), all conducted without calculators or notes of any kind.
Homework: We'll have frequent written assignments, announced in class, listed on Collab, and typically due at the beginning of class on Thursdays. Homework papers may also be submitted to the instructor's mailbox in Kerchof by 10:30 AM of the due date. On each assignment some problems are carefully graded, and the remaining problems are quickly examined to see that a sincere effort was made. Scores are recorded at the top of the paper, as follows: (graded problems/points possible) + (completeness of remaining problems/points possible) = (total/points possible). The grader will be fairly picky so that students can identify all areas of confusion before the midterms. Note that the final answer alone is not worth credit; you will be graded on the method that you show.
Classwork/clickers: Sometimes we will use clickers (students need to own one and register it on Collab). Sometimes students will work problems in pairs or larger groups, enjoying a happy, conversational atmosphere with access to notes, books, an instructor, and each other. These activities cannot be made up by students who miss lecture.
Grading: Course grades will be based on numerical totals, calculated as follows: 20% each midterm, 35% final, and 25% [homework + classwork]. I will assign letter grade numerical ranges for each midterm after it is scored. The correctness of clicker responses is irrelevant as far as grading; a student who answers two-thirds of the questions will get full credit for the clicker component. Attendance is required, and multiple absences will result in a lower classwork total.
Math Collaborative Learning Center: Located on the second floor of Clemons Library, the MCLC provides free walk-in help. The times targeted for MATH 3100 (all lectures) are Tues 8:15-9:30 PM and Wed 7-8:15 PM. See http://people.virginia.edu/~psb7p/MCLCsch.html for more information.
Learning disabilities: Students who have a learning disability documented by LNEC may be entitled to special accommodations during exams. If this is the case, documentation from LNEC should be given to me at least a week before the exam.
1) I hope you're not insulted by my stating three rules of common courtesy: please turn cell phones and laptops off during lecture, please do not eat during lecture, and please do not leave before the end of lecture unless you have discussed the reason with me before lecture starts.
2) You learn math by doing it. Remember that you can practice with odd-numbered problems from the book.
3) You may work with other students, as long as you write up solutions entirely in your own words. You are also allowed to use outside sources (books, webpages, wise Uncle Mike), but you must cite them on your paper.
4) It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.
5) Be an enthusiastic learner. Participate in class by asking and answering questions. Come talk to me in my office to iron out things you don't understand.
6) If circumstances arise which affect your performance in the course, you should inform me before they influence your grade.
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