ENGRD 2700 Basic Engineering Probability and Statistics (Fall 2019)

1. Basic Info
2. Text, notes and iCliker
3. Software
4. Homework
5. Exams
6. Websites and Communications
7. Grading
8. Regrade Request
9. Course Overview
10. Academic Excellence Workshop
11. Special Accommodations
12. Personal or Academic Stress
13. Academic Conduct

1. Basic Info

Tuesday and Thursday 1:25–2:40, Phillips Hall 101

DIS 201, Monday 8:40am-9:55am, Rhodes Hall 453 (TA: Michael Yuan)
DIS 202, Monday 2:55pm-4:10pm, Rhodes Hall 453 (TA: Michael Yuan)
DIS 203, Thursday 10:10am-11:25am, Rhodes Hall 453 (TA: Andrew Chee)
DIS 204, Tuesday 2:55pm-4:10pm, Rhodes Hall 453 (TA: Sotiris Ntanavaras)
DIS 205, Thursday 8:40am-9:55am, Rhodes Hall 453 (TA: Xumei Xi)
DIS 206, Friday 2:55pm - 4:10pm, Rhodes Hall 453 (TA: Rohan Sarkar)

Yudong Chen (yudong.chen at cornell dot edu, Rhodes 223)
Office hours: Thursday 5-6pm, or by appointment

TAs and office hours :

Day Time Location TA netid
Monday 2:30pm - 3:30pm Rhodes Hall 431 Jaye Ren jr853
Monday 4:30pm - 5:30pm Rhodes Hall 420 Michael Yuan mty6
Tuesday 10:00am - 11:00am Rhodes Hall 431 Xumei Xi xx269
Tuesday 5:00pm - 6:00pm Rhodes Hall 431 Tonghua Tian tt543
Wednesday 10:00am - 11:00am Rhodes Hall 421 Christina Zhou cyz9
Wednesday 1:30pm - 2:30pm Rhodes Hall 431 Hannah Lee hl742
Thursday 11:00am - 12:00pm Rhodes Hall 431 Colleen Casey ckc74
Thursday 4:30pm - 5:30pm Rhodes Hall 420 Yuting Xue yx288
Friday 9:00am - 10:0am Rhodes Hall 431 Andrew Chee ac2766
Friday 11:15am - 12:15pm Rhodes Hall 421 Rohan Sarkar rs2466
Friday 4:30pm - 5:30pm Rhodes Hall 421 Sotiris Ntanavaras sn655

Two semesters of calculus (e.g., MATH 1910 and 1920), and linear algebra (MATH 2940); the latter may be taken concurrently.

2. Text, notes and iClicker

  • • A pdf version of each lecture (perhaps with gaps to be filled in during class) should be posted on Blackboard the night before the lecture. This can either be printed for annotation or annotated electronically. I hold the copyright on the course notes and other course materials (homework etc.), and buying, selling or reposting course materials is prohibited and illegal. We check course-hero.
  • Required: i>clicker or a REEF mobile polling compatible device: The i>clicker is available from Cornell Bookstore; please register your i>clicker on Blackboard (see first section here for instructions). If you'd like to use mobile polling instead, see the "Information for Students" section here for instructions. Participation in the polling will count towards your final grade.
  • Recommended textbook: Much of the material for this course is also covered in the book Probability and Statistics for Engineering and the Sciences, by Jay L. Devore, which contains many examples and problems. Any edition, hard or electronic copy, is fine (the cheaper, the better). Reserve copies of this book are available at the Uris Library.

3. Software

We will use R (freely available here) coupled with the free RStudio interface.

R is free, available for all platforms, and used frequently in subsequent courses. No prior experience is necessary; the fundamentals will be covered in the discussion sections. 

You may use any computational tool you like to do the homework, but only R and RStudio will be supported in this course.

4. Homework

There will be about 9 to 11 homework assignments. Homework is due at 11:59pm on Friday a week after it is given out (unless specified otherwise in the homework handout). They must be submitted electronically through Gradescope, NOT to the homework dropbox or by email, under door, etc. --- This saves us from the trouble of rushing to Rhodes Hall, picking up graded homework, having homework lost/tampered, etc. Homework grades and comments will be available on Gradescope.

Homework assignments are equally weighted, and the 2 lowest ones will be dropped; this accommodates sickness, family emergency, religious holiday or other circumstances without a formal process. If you miss an assignment for these reasons then it must count as the dropped assignment. We will NOT accept other requests for extensions or waivers.

You may discuss the content of the course with other students at the level of a hallway discussion, but you must write up your homework alone, independently and individually.

Submission instructions:

   • Step 1: Sign up on Gradescope using the course "entry code" posted on Blackboard. If you have signing up, please email 2700fa19@gmail.com with your Full Name, Net ID and Student ID.
   • Step 2: Upload your assignment as one PDF file, by clicking the name of the assignment in your Gradescope dashboard

  • o You can use Latex, Word, or R-markdown (from RStudio) to create PDFs.
  • o If you handwrite your assignment, please scan (or take clear pictures) and convert to .pdf file. Gradescope has some recommendation for apps for scanning using your smartphone.
  • o There are multiple websites and tools that allow you to combine different pdfs into one file. https://combinepdf.com is one example.

   • Step 3 (very crucial): You need to select the pages in your pdf that correspond to each question of the current assignment.
   • You may submit as many times as you want. Only the last submission before the deadline will be graded. 
   • A detailed submission guide as well as some useful tips can be found here.

Late homework will be not accepted. You should submit the homework well in advance before the deadline.

See here for regrade policy.

5. Exams

  • Prelim: Oct 29 (Tue) during class time (1:25-2:40pm), in Statler Auditorium. You may bring one sheet of paper (US-Letter size, double sided) with you to the exam.
  • Final: Dec 20 (Fri) 2-4:30pm, in Uris Hall G01, according to the university's final exam schedule. You may bring two sheets of papers (US-Letter size, double sided). The final exam will be cumulative.

  • Exams are closed book. Calculators are allowed; graphical calculators are permitted provided that their memory is cleared before the exam. You may NOT use a computer, smart tablet or other device with a communication capability. No cell phones are allowed, even on your desk to check the time, nor on the floor near your feet. Make sure we don't see a cell phone anywhere near you in the exam. A live cellphone means you want to be removed from the room and accused of an honor code violation.

6. Websites and Communication

  • Blackboard: We use Blackboard for all course materials, homework assignments and communication. You should be automatically given access to the course Blackboard site when you enroll in the course
  • Gradescope: We use Gradescope as a homework submission platform. You can view your grades and comments from the grader.
  • Piazza: We will have a class Piazza forum where students can post and answer questions about the content. Piazza participation will count towards your participation points. Sign up for this course on Piazza using this link.
    • - The instructor and TAs will monitor the forum, but it is primarily the responsibility of other students to help each other.
    • - The goal for such a forum is to encourage learning through peers; knowing how your peers are struggling with a problem can be useful in your learning. Or answering your peers' questions can help identify any gaps in your understanding. This will not be achieved if the questions/comments are only seen by the instructor/TAs. If you believe your question or a comment will be useful to the entire class, make it public. This should generally be the default position. I may make a question public if I think it's the more appropriate option.
    • - Only rarely would the private option be appropriate. An example where a private note would make sense is in a situation where you are far along answering an assignment question and are unsure about some aspect of your approach.
    • - You can keep yourself anonymous from your peers if you want; I will still see your identity.
  • • Course email: If you want to send an email to the course staff, please use 2700fa19@gmail.com, monitored by both the professor and TAs. You will risk the possibility of a delayed response if you email the professor/TAs directly. Before you send an email, please first consider posting to Piazza and reading this page carefully.

7. Grading

Your grade will be based on whichever of the following schemes gives you the higher grade:

  • Scheme 1:
    • • Course evaluation: 1%
    • • Clicker responses: 4%
    • • Homework: 25%
    • • Prelim: 25%
    • • Final: 45%
    Scheme 2:
    • • Course evaluation: 1%
    • • Clicker responses: 4%
    • • Homework: 25%
    • • Final: 70%

So a strong final exam score makes us forget a mediocre midterm score.

Clicker response grade: Each clicker question will be worth 1 point, which can be earned by simply responding to the question.  Answers do not have to be correct and in some cases there may be no correct answers. If you answer at least 75% of the clicker questions, then you will earn the full 4 percentage points for clicker responses. If you answer less than 75% of the clicker questions, then your overall clicker score will be reduced proportionally.

Letter grades: After a final numerical score is computed, the scores are ranked and letter grades are assigned. Some discretion is involved to account for variability in exam’s level of difficulty. In a prior iteration of the course, about 30% were given something in the A-range, 44% in the B-range, 25% in the C-range.

8. Regrade Request

You can make a regrade request on Gradescope for a particular problem in your assignment if you believe that there is a mistake in grading. Gradescope provides a coherent rubric for all the students and your grade will be adjusted only if your deducted points did not match your actual solution. All regrade requests should be accompanied by an explanation to justify your answer. Bear in mind that there is a regrade window period, which is within a week after the grade is posted.

The grader will re-examine the entire homework, so your final grade can go up or down.

9. Course Overview

This course provides a working knowledge of basic probability and statistics and their application to engineering. Computer analysis of data and simulation are included. Topics include:

• Introduction; survey; culture; descriptive statistics; plotting.
• Probability models; Bayes theorem.
• Random variables
• Discrete distributions (binomial, Poisson, geometric, hypergeometric)
• Continuous distributions (exponential, normal)
• Central limit theorem and linear combination of random variables
• Normal approximation to binomial and Poisson
• Inference: Point and interval estimation
• Hypothesis testing
• Power and sample size
• Comparisons: Two-sample t-test, paired t-test; new better than old?
• Two variances, two proportions; new less variable than old?
• Introduction to linear regression, inference in regression analysis, regression diagnostics

10. Academic Excellence Workshop

An Academic Excellence Workshop (AEW) section is available to be taken in conjunction with this course. AEWs are optional 1-credit supplemental courses which meet for one two-hour collaborative problem-solving session each week throughout the semester. Designed to enhance student understanding, the workshops feature group work on problems at or above the level of course instruction. In the workshops, small-group problem-solving is directed by undergraduate peer educators called facilitators. The AEWs are graded S/U, based on attendance.  The following AEW sections are available for this course:

ENGRG 2700-201 Monday 7:30-9:25pm  HLS 401

Enroll online during the add period.  Space is available, but may fill up quickly. If there are no spots available in a section that fits your schedule, use the link included with the course listing in the registration system to indicate your interest and availability.  For more information about AEWs, visit:


AEWs begin meeting on Wednesday, September 11

11. Special Accommodations

It is Cornell policy to provide reasonable accommodations to students who have a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, or systemic) that may affect their ability to participate in course activities or to meet course requirements. Such students are encouraged to contact Student Disability Services (https://sds.cornell.edu/about/contact-us) and their instructors for a confidential discussion of their individual need for academic accommodations. More information can be found at http://sds.cornell.edu

Students qualified for extra time on exams (or other accommodation) should bring authorization from SDS to Prof. Chen at least a week before the exam.

12. Personal or Academic Stress

If you are experiencing undue academic stress at any time during the semester, or need to talk to someone about a personal matter, a wide range of campus resources are available:

Your college’s Academic Advising or Student Services Office
Cornell Learning Strategies Center (http://lsc.cornell.edu)
Cornell Health Services (https://health.cornell.edu/)
• Peer support provided by Empathy Assistance and Referral Service (http://ears.dos.cornell.edu/)

13. Academic Conduct

Each student in this course is expected to abide by the Cornell University Code of Academic Integrity (http://theuniversityfaculty.cornell.edu/academic-integrity/). Any work submitted by a student in this course for academic credit should be the student’s own work.  Copying during exams or copying homework is an exampleof cheating. Do not use someone else’s iClicker in class.

If you have any questions about this policy, please do not hesitate to contact the instructor.