Class ground rules: This course operates in a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment. That applies to class meetings, office hours, discussion postings, and any other communications you send as part of this course. As a college and a community, we value diversity of age, race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability, and other identities, visible or nonvisible.
If at any time during this course you are made to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome, I encourage you to talk to me about it. You can also use one of the other contact methods described in the resources.
Academic integrity and the honor code: You’re responsible for doing your work in this course both in accordance with stated rules (which may be different for different assignments) and with a sense of fairness and integrity. The section of the student handbook dealing with the Honor Code can be found here: https://www.mtholyoke.edu/student-handbook/student-accountability.
Very briefly, academic integrity means that you do not seek any unfair advantages over other students, and that all work you present as your own is your own. But the details of that can get complicated. I’ve tried to be very clear about what collaboration and resources are appropriate for each assignment, but if you have any questions or uncertainties about what something means, or whether something is okay, please contact me. I am very happy to talk to you about this. I am much, much happier to talk to you about it before something happens.
One issue that people tend to struggle with in this course is plagiarism. Yes, it is possible to commit plagiarism in stats or math! Sure, there are fixed vocab words and equations that everyone uses, but your explanations and discussions should always be your own creation. Any time you take someone else’s words/ideas without citing them is plagiarism – even if it’s just my notes, or the built-in R documentation. Again, I’m happy to talk with you about this. You can also find a helpful guide to avoiding plagiarism here: https://plagiarism.arts.cornell.edu/tutorial/index.cfm.
Prerequisites: Stat 242 or equivalent – that is, a college-level stats course that spends quality time with hypothesis tests and multiple regression – and a willingness to devote regular time to working on this course. Technically, R experience isn’t a prerequisite, but it’ll make your life a lot easier; let me know right away if you don’t have R experience, so I can make sure you have extra resources to get caught up.
You do not need to have seen experimental design before. You also don’t need to have taken Math 211 (Linear Algebra) or Stat 340 (Regression But This Time For Realsies). We will throw some matrices around during the course, but I will get you up to speed on whatever you need.
In general, if you are ever unsure whether you’re supposed to know something already – or concerned that you don’t – I encourage you to ask me (or a classmate!) about it. Sometimes I actually don’t expect you to know it yet. And if I do expect you to know it, I’m happy to get you the help you need to pick it up.
Accessibility: My goal is to create a class that’s accessible, inclusive, and rewarding for everyone. This means accommodating everyone’s disability and accessibility needs, in addition to any logistical issues that may come up.
If anything like this applies to you, come and talk to me. Sooner is better! You can also get in touch with the folks over at Disability Services (https://www.mtholyoke.edu/directory/departments-offices-centers/disability-services) for much more help.
Exceptions, extensions, etc.: Given the world in which we find ourselves, this course is already designed to be flexible (see more here). But if something comes up that stretches that built-in flexibility, tell me about it as soon as possible. We can often work out an alternative plan or accommodation, but there is much less I can do if you come to me after the fact. See here for more on this.
Books: There are two required textbooks for this course: Box, Hunter, and Hunter’s Statistics for Experimenters, second edition (which I will call “BHH”), and Goos and Jones’ Optimal Design of Experiments: A Case Study Approach (which I will call “GJ”).
Between you and me, you can totally find a scanned version of BHH online for free, if you don’t mind the lower graphical quality. (Make sure you’re using the second edition, which is substantially different from the first.) But I listed it as required so it’s covered by your financial aid if you want a hard copy. As far as I know, you’ll actually have to buy GJ.
Any supplementary resources will be available for free or in the library. We’ll also draw on my own notes for some topics.
We’ll use R and RStudio for coding, including activities, practice problems, and projects. By default, I expect everyone to use RStudio Server (MHC has an institutional account so you have access at no cost); if you won’t be able to use the server, talk to me. (Note that you will need to be on an MHC network or connected to the VPN to access MHC’s server! Ask me or LITS if you have questions about this.)
Although you won’t need R on your own machine, you will need to do a lot of typing and have multiple things open at once. I recommend you have access to an actual computer unless you’re really good with a teeny tiny keyboard, though you can certainly use your phone/tablet for some things during the course. If you have any questions or issues around devices (including accessibility issues, restrictions on screen use, not having a laptop to bring to class, etc.) let me know.
Public health: We’ll follow Mount Holyoke’s rules…which may change as circumstances evolve over the course of the semester.
- At least for the beginning of the semester, wear a mask. We’ll be in a moderately tight space, and you’ll be working closely with other people. If you need to drink water or something, step out of the classroom to do so. I’ll make a call about ongoing mask rules later in the semester.
- Please, please, please do not come to class if you are feeling sick, or if you are supposed to isolate. You can join an individual class by Zoom (ask a friend to bring a laptop and Zoom you in, or contact me if you’d like any help getting things set up) or catch up afterwards. This is really important to help us feel comfortable being in a room together and doing group work.
- Please do come to class if you are not in isolation or feeling sick. This stuff is why we have a campus in the first place :)
Recording: By default, I will not record our synchronous class meetings or office hours. I may record your project presentations, but I will not post the recordings publicly. There may at times be a special session (like a review session on a particular topic) that is recorded so that people who can’t make the scheduled time can still see it. If so, I’ll note that the session will be recorded when I announce it, and again at the start of the session.
Title IX: Mount Holyoke is committed to providing a safe learning environment for all students that is free of all forms of discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. If you (or someone you know) has experienced or experiences any of these incidents, know that you are not alone. There are staff members trained to support you in navigating campus life, accessing health and counseling services, providing academic and housing accommodations, helping with legal protective orders, and more.
Please be aware that all faculty members are responsible employees. This means that if you tell me about a situation involving sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, I must share that information with Shannon Da Silva, the Title IX Coordinator. Although I have to make that notification, you will control how your case will be handled, including whether or not you wish to pursue a formal complaint. Our goal is to make sure you are aware of the range of options available to you and have access to the resources you need.
If you are looking for confidential resources (people who will not share what you tell them, except by your consent, or if there’s an imminent threat to someone’s safety), good options include Counseling Services (https://offices.mtholyoke.edu/counseling, 24/7 support line 413-538-2037) or Health Services (https://offices.mtholyoke.edu/health).