STAT 305 D. Engineering Statistics

Learning Objectives

  • Understand statistical studies. Understand observational studies, experimental studies, key differences between the two, and the types of conclusions that can be drawn from each.
  • Summarize data using numerical summaries and statistical plots. Use these tools to draw key information about the data relevant to the problem at hand.
  • Understand the concept of a random variable and model measured quantities in statistical studies as random variables. Use random variables to calculate means, variances, probabilities, and quantiles. Practice working with commonly used random variables such as binomial, geometric, Poisson, normal, and t random variables.
  • Understand confidence intervals, along with how to use and interpret them effectively. Rigorously draw conclusions from data using hypothesis tests.


  • Any course in precalculus.
  • Any course in single-variable calculus.


Will Landau
landau at iastate (Put "[STAT 305]" in the subject.)
Office phone: 515-294-6609
Office hours: Wed 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM or by appointment in Snedecor Hall 3211. For appointments, you can check my calendar for openings.

Teaching Assistant

Guillermo Basulto-Elias
Email: basulto at iastate (Put "[STAT 305]" in the subject.)
Office hours: Mon 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM or by appointment in Snedecor Hall 2211


MacKay Hall 0213
Tue/Thu 12:40-2:00 PM
No class on Tue, March 19 or Thu, March 21.

Optional Sessions

Optional sessions may be scheduled outside class time to review for exams or to introduce JMP 10, a statistical software program that students will use on some homework assignments. More details TBD.

Required Text

Basic Engineering Data Collection and Analysis
Stephen B. Vardeman and J. Marcus Jobe
ISBN-10: 0-534-36957-X
ISBN-13: 978-0-534-36957-6

Statistical Software

JMP 10, freely available for download.
You can find on-campus computers equipped with JMP.

Course materials

All course materials will be posted at These include lecture notes, homework assignments, data, and any supplemental materials.

The Wiki

There is a wiki for this class at To access the wiki:
  • Go to and create an account if you don't already have one. Please try to pick a username that resembles the username in your email address. Otherwise, please write in your profile either your full name or some other obvious clue that tells me who you are.
  • While signed in, visit and request to join. If you are a student, I will accept the request.
I created it to encourage collaboration. You may use it to discuss anything related to the class except:
  • Test problems. There must be absolutely no discussion about test problems. However, you may discuss the practice tests and practice problems posted on the course website.
  • Solutions to homework problems. You may ask questions and give hints, but you must not give away solutions.
I plan to give extra credit to contributors who are especially active and insightful.


The following surveys are not required, but participation will help your grade.
  • At the top of the first homework assignment, you will see a link to a survey at I created this survey to find out the distribution of majors in the class and allow students to vote on my office hours. Students who complete and submit the survey by 12:40 PM on Thursday, January 24 will receive five percentage points of extra credit on the first homework assignment.
  • The Departments of Mathematics and Statistics are jointly conducting a three-year study funded by the National Science Foundation to explore the gender gap and the performance of community college transfer students in the STEM sciences. The survey will be given at the beginning (week 2) and at the end of the semester (week 14) through Course Climate and students will receive an e-mail invitation with a link to the survey automatically.

    The exact dates for the survey are:

    Pre-survey: 01/21 - 01/27/13 until 11 PM
    Post-survey: 04/22 - 04/28/13 until 11PM

    Students who complete both the pre-survey and the post-survey will receive one percentage point of extra credit on their final grades.


You can check your grades on Blackboard.

Your final grade is a weighted average of homework (25%), exam 1 (25%), exam 2 (25%), and the final exam (25%). Your lowest homework grade will be dropped before making the calculation.

For example, suppose:
  • You earned a total of 889 homework points over the whole semester.
  • There were 1100 possible homework point in all.
  • Your lowest homework grade was 61 points out of 100.
  • You scored a 97% on exam 1.
  • You scored a 85% on exam 2.
  • You scored a 91% on the final exam.
Your homework grade with the lowest score dropped is (889 - 61)/(1100 - 100) = 82.8%.
Your final grade is (82.8% + 97% + 85% + 91%)/4 = 88.95%.

I will assign letter grades as follows:

Letter Grade Percentage Grade X
         A                   X ≥ 93.000%
         A- 89.000% ≤ X < 93.000%
         B+ 86.000% ≤ X < 89.000%
         B 83.000% ≤ X < 86.000%
         B- 79.000% ≤ X < 83.000%
         C+ 76.000% ≤ X < 79.000%
         C 73.000% ≤ X < 76.000%
         C- 69.000% ≤ X < 73.000%
         D+ 66.000% ≤ X < 69.000%
         D 63.000% ≤ X < 66.000%
         D- 59.000% ≤ X < 63.000%
         F                   X < 59.000%


Homework rules are as follows:
  • Show your work.
  • You are encouraged to work on homework with your peers. However, your problem sets must be written by you and only you, in your own words, and only with the calculations that you yourself did.
  • Homework solutions will be emailed individually to those who have completed the respective assignments. You are not allowed to share a solution set with a peer who has not completed the assignment.
Weekly homework assignments, along with their respective due dates, are be posted at Homeworks will usually be due on Thursdays at the beginning of class. Submission must be in hard copy form except under extenuating circumstances.

Each homework assignment is worth 100 points, and the sum of the points you earn on homework assignments is your overall homework grade. Your lowest homework grade is excluded from the calculation of your final grade.

I will formally extend due dates for individuals with unusual and adverse circumstances (family crisis, serious illness, etc.). Otherwise, the following late policy applies:

First late No penalty if handed in by April 25
Score = 0/100 if handed in after April 25
Second late 5 point penalty if handed in by April 25
Score = 0/100 if handed in after April 25
Third late 10 point penalty if handed in by April 25
Score = 0/100 if handed in after April 25



n'th late, where n is the
total number of homeworks
5 × (n-1) point penalty if handed in by April 25
Score = 0/100 if handed in after April 25


The exam rules are as follows:
  • All the usual exam ethics apply. Please ask the instructor if you have questions.
  • You may bring ONLY the following materials to the exams:
    • A writing utensil.
    • An approved hand-held calculator: You will not need anything more powerful than a 4-function calculator, but you may bring anything as powerful as a graphing calculator such as a TI-83 or TI-89. However, you may not use anything more sophisticated or powerful than a graphing calculator or a device with networking capabilities (i.e., no computers, tablets, smart phones, cell phones, etc.). Please contact me if you are not sure if your calculator qualifies.
    • An 8.5" × 11" sheet of paper of your own notes to help you during the exam. You may use both sides of the page, and you may write anything you want except for solutions to example problems and exam notes copied from another student.
  • During an exam, you will be provided with:
    • Enough scratch paper.
    • Enough computer output (i.e., from JMP) to complete the exam.
    • All necessary probability tables, which may include standard normal tables, Student t tables, chisquare tables, or F tables.
Exam information is as follows:

ExamDateLocationGeneral Topics
Exam 1Feb 14, 12:40 - 2:00 PMNSRIC 1131Ch. 1, 2, 3, 4
Exam 2Mar 14, 12:40 - 2:00 PMNSRIC 1131Ch. 5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 5.5
Final ExamMay 10, 9:45 - 11:50 AM Gilman 1352 Ch. 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 9.1, 9.2

Lecture Rules

Please bring your calculators to class because I will often have you do in-class exercises. Also, please bring any probability tables (standard normal table, Student t table, etc.) to class after I have taught you how to use them.

Other than that, all the usual rules of classroom etiquette apply. Please be respectful to your peers and your instructor. We need a quiet, distraction-free environment. For example, if you want to use your cell phone for anything other than taking notes or checking the date or time, please exit the classroom and come back when you’re done. Some of you may want to take a picture of the blackboard during class to study later, but I find this too distracting to allow. If you’re using a personal computer, please only use it to take notes. Screens that show Facebook or high-definition soccer games (true story) are too distracting to your peers. Also, please dress appropriately (decently and without profanity). I do not want to limit freedom of speech, but I reserve the right to have disruptive students leave the classroom for the day.


I do not formally keep track of attendance, but coming to class is crucial. Statistics is so different from Engineering that most students need to be physically present, hear someone actually talk about this stuff, and ask questions. Just reading on your own about a subject this strange is rarely sufficient.


I can’t estimate how much work you’ll need to put into this class, but I can give you some advice. To make your exam preparation and homework easier, please come to class every day, read the lecture notes on your own, and read the textbook if you feel it’ll help. Most of you who do all that will hopefully be able to solve the majority of the homework problems within about an hour or so each. For problems that stump you for an hour or more, please email me, come to my office hours, or make an appointment to see me some other time. Bottom line: to be time efficient, stay on top of the reading and lectures, and ask for help early and often to avoid beating your head against a wall.

"Dead Week"

"Dead week" is the last week of the semester before final exam week. STAT 305 follows the Iowa State University Dead Week policy as noted in section 10.6.4 of the Faculty Handbook ( That means no final exams are allowed in dead week, and no graded assignments or tests can be due during dead week without first informing students when the semester begins.

Academic Honesty

This class follows the Iowa State University's policy on academic honesty described in the University Catalog. The penalties described will apply in the event of a violation of university policy, the homework rules, or the exam rules.

Disability Resources

Iowa State University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you have a disability and require accommodations, please contact me early in the semester so that your learning needs are appropriately met. You will need to provide documentation of your disability to the Student Disability Resources (SDR) office: Student Services Building Room 1076 (main floor), 515-294-7220. No retroactive accommodations will be provided in this class.

Harassment and Discrimination

Iowa State University strives to maintain our campus as a place of work and study for faculty, staff, and students that is free of all forms of prohibited discrimination and harassment based upon race, ethnicity, sex (including sexual assault), pregnancy, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or status as a U.S. veteran. Any student who has concerns about such behavior should contact me, contact Student Assistance at 515-294-1020 or, or call the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance at 515-294-7612.

Religious Accommodation

If part of this class conflicts with your religious practices or observances, you may request reasonable accommodations. You may also seek assistance from the Dean of Students Office or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance.

Contact issue about any of the above policies

If you are experiencing, or have experienced, a problem with any of the above policies, email me or


This syllabus is subject to change.