Please read the information below carefully and refer to this handout whenever you have questions about class policies.

Unique Number: 57475                

Instructor: Prof. M. Smith
Contact information:

Class Web Site: http://www.ma.utexas.edu/users/mks/362K03/362K03index.html Handouts and assignments will be posted at this web site. They may be in html, pdf, or Word format, depending on what works best for the particular item.

Office Hours: Posted on home page http://www.ma.utexas.edu/users/mks (Other times may be possible by appointment if you cannot make my regular office hours. However, I am not available MWF before 1.)

Textbook: Ross, A First Course in Probability, sixth edition (2002). We will cover most of Chapters 1 - 8, and perhaps small portions of Chapters 9 and 10.

Optional Additional Resources: Some students like to consult a second textbook. If you wish to do this, here are two suggestions:
     Grinstead and Snell, Introduction to Probability, available  in PDF format from http://www.dartmouth.edu/~chance/teaching_aids/books_articles/probability_book/book.html
    Ghahramani, Fundamentals of Probability, Prentice Hall.

Prerequisite: M 408D or 408L (or equivalent) with grade of C or better. This prerequisite will be used! See the handout Some Things You May Need From Calculus for more details.
** Although M 325K (Discrete Mathematics) is not a prerequisite for this course, many students have said in the past that it is helpful to take M 325K (or CS 336, which is a similar course, or at least PHL 313K) before, or at least along with, M 362K. If you have not had M 325K or CS 336, you may need to spend extra time in Chapters 1 and 2 of the textbook. If you would like to consult an extra reference for help in these sections, I suggest Epp, Discrete Mathematics with Applications, second edition, Brooks/Cole, 1995. Sections 6.1 - 6.5 relate to Chapter 1 of Ross; pp. 231 - 237, 244 - 255, and 258 - 263 are relevant to Chapter 2 of Ross.

Technology Use
: You will be expected to use the Web and email as needed. I may also once or twice give you an assignment involving a computer simulation, which could be done with any number of software packages, including Excel. If you do not have computer access, please see me about obtaining a computer account.

Course Outline: We will not follow the order of the textbook exactly. Here is a rough outline of how we will proceed:
  1. Introduction to random variables and probability. (Notes and part of Chapter 2)
  2. Discrete probability and Combinatorics (Chapter 2, incorporating parts of Chapter 1 as they are needed.)
  3. Conditional Probability, Bayes' Theorem, and Independent Events (Chapter 3, with occasional supplementation.)
  4. Random Variables (Sections 4.1 - 4.2 along with 5.1, part of 5.3 and possibly 4.9)
  5. Expected Value and Variance (Sections 4.4, 4.5, 5.2 and 5.3 and perhaps some supplementation)
  6. Special random variables and the Central Limit Theorem (Sections 4.6, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.8.1, 5.4, 5.4.1, 5.5 and part of  8.3, plus some supplementation)
  7. Functions of random variables, joint and conditional distributions, and sums of independent random variables (Sections 5.7, 6.1 - 6.5)
  8. Properties of sums of random variables (Sections 7.1, 7.2, 7.3)
  9. Limit Theorems (Sections 8.1 - 8.2 and maybe more on 8.3)

Class Format
: You will have an assignment for most class days. Assignments may consist of reading (from the textbook or supplementary notes available on the web), problems to think about for class discussion, and/or problems to be written up and turned in. I will try to keep lecturing to a minimum, so that class time will consist of short lectures, group activities, class discussion, and presentation and discussion of homework problems.

What I Expect of You
: In this class, I expect you to:
Note: I don't expect perfection; I do expect you to keep trying and to keep improving -- including trying to learning from your mistakes.

Grading: I will do my best to give you the grade that is best warranted by your overall performance in the course. I will take into account whatever relevant information is available, but as a rough guideline will consider the following items in approximately the percentages given below in determining your grade.  (More information about individual items follows.)

    Written homework                        20%
    Three mid-semester exams            15% each
    Final exam                                    25%
    Class participation and attitude     10%

I may occasionally give extra credit assignments, which may influence your grade positively if they are of high quality.
I will not "curve" grades (although we may discuss as part of the course what "curving" means). Unless told otherwise, homework and exam grades will be based on the scale
A: 90 - 100%, B: 80 - 89%, C: 70 - 79%, D: 60 - 69%, F: < 60% (without rounding).


Late Homework: Written homework is due at the beginning of class on the day it is due. Unless told otherwise, late homework will not be accepted for credit except under very unusual circumstances  (e.g., extended hospitalization).  However, the two lowest homework grades will be dropped in computing the homework average.  This is intended to allow for the normal amount of illness, bad weeks, etc.

Midsemester exams: The first midsemester exam is scheduled for October 3. The dates of the second and third midsemester exams will be announced about two weeks in advance.  I will not give make-ups on midsemester exams.  Instead, if you have an excused absence on an exam, I will count your final exam grade in place of the missing exam grade.  I will not give you an excused absence unless (a) you request one as soon as feasible (before the quiz if that is possible) and (b) the absence was for good cause (oversleeping or having other exams or papers due that day or week are not considered good cause.) Since the class is near classroom capacity, exams will probably be given in another room, which should be announced at least a week in advance.

Final Exam: The final exam will be Saturday, December 13, 9 a.m. - 12 noon (as announced in the course schedule), in whatever room is assigned by the University.

Absences for religious observances: According to Section 51.911 of the Texas Education Code, a student who misses an examination, work assignment, or other project due to the observance of a religious holy day must be given an opportunity to complete the work missed within a reasonable time after the absence, provided that he or she has properly notified each instructor. It is the policy of The University of Texas at Austin that the student must notify the each instructor at least fourteen days prior to the classes scheduled on dates he or she will be absent to observe a relisious holy day. For religious holidays that fall within the first two weeks of the semester, the notice should be given on the first da of the semester. Alternate arrangements will be made as soon as possible after notifiation. If you expect to be absent for a religious holy day during this semester, please let me know as soon in advance as possible so that I can try to schedule exams, etc. around these dates.

Class participation: There are three reasons why I consider class participation important:
1. Many employers complain that students have poor communication skills and poor skills in working with others. Class participation is a good way to practice oral (and some written) communication skills and working with others in a task-oriented context.
2. Communicating mathematics, orally as well as in writing, can help you learn mathematical vocabulary, concepts, and reasoning.
3. Regular active involvement in learning promotes thorough and long term learning better than passively attending lecture, doing homework just to get it done, and studying only for exams.
Your class participation grade includes the following:
Attitude: Ideally, your grade in this (and any other class) should be an indicator of the long term effect of taking the class. This includes long term retention of what you have learned, including vocabulary, conceptual understanding, reasoning, and approaches to problem solving in the field.  Even the most carefully designed exams and assignments allow some room for the student who is working just for the grade to receive a grade that does not indicate long term retention and learning. Therefore it is appropriate to include attitude in your grade. A constructive attitude is reflected by behaviors that are conducive to long-term learning; a counterproductive attitude is reflected by behaviors that focus on the short term and neglect the long-term.
The following behaviors reflect a constructive attitude:  
The following behaviors reflect a counterproductive attitude:

Policy on Authorized and Unauthorized Collaboration
: Since the University defines collaboration that is not specifically authorized as academic dishonesty, I need to tell you what collaboration is authorized in this class.

The following type of collaboration is authorized:
    Working on homework with someone who is at roughly the same stage of progress as you, provided both parties contribute in roughly equal quantity and quality (in particular, thinking) to whatever problem or problem parts they collaborate on. In fact, I encourage this type of collaboration!

The following types of collaboration are not authorized:
    1. Working together with one person the doer and one the follower.
    2. Any type of copying. In particular, splitting up a problem so that different people do different parts is not authorized collaboration on homework.

Students with Disabilities
: The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471-4641 TTY.

Deadlines for dropping courses