Survey of Statistics for Beginners

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Survey of Statistics for Beginners

taught by Bob Hayden

Aim of Course:

This online course, "Survey of Statistics for Beginners" provides an easy overview of statistics and statistical terminology through a series of practical applications. Once you've completed this course you'll be able to summarize data and interpret reports and newspaper accounts that use statistics and probability. You'll use simulation and resampling to fully grasp the difficult concept of "statistical significance."

Course Program:

WEEK 1: Summarizing your data

  • Mean, median, and mode; range, variance, and standard deviation
  • Box plots and stem-and-leaf plots and other histograms
  • Frequency distributions
  • Types of data (measurement and categorical variables)

WEEK 2: Probability models

  • Probability, conditional probability
  • Independence
  • Samples and populations
  • Random Sample
  • Parameters and parameter estimates

WEEK 3: Testing a hypothesis

  • Variation
  • Testing via simulations
  • Median test
  • Testing via a theoretical probability distribution
  • Chi-squared goodness-of-fit test


Homework in this course consists of short answer questions to test concept and guided data analysis problems using software.

In addition to assigned readings, this course also has practice exercises, and supplemental readings available online.

Survey of Statistics for Beginners

Who Should Take This Course:

Anyone who encounters statistics in their work. Also, anyone who has taken (or is now taking) a standard introductory statistics sequence and needs either a different angle on the subject or a brief refresher. This first course in statistics requires no prior training in the subject. The only mathematics you need is arithmetic. This survey course is not a substitute for a full college introductory statistics course. See our guide to how our introductory courses fit together and how they match up to traditional college courses.



No statistical background is required. You should have access to a pair of dice.

Organization of the Course:

This course takes place online at the Institute for 3 weeks. During each course week, you participate at times of your own choosing - there are no set times when you must be online. Course participants will be given access to a private discussion board. In class discussions led by the instructor, you can post questions, seek clarification, and interact with your fellow students and the instructor.

At the beginning of each week, you receive the relevant material, in addition to answers to exercises from the previous session. During the week, you are expected to go over the course materials, work through exercises, and submit answers. Discussion among participants is encouraged. The instructor will provide answers and comments, and at the end of the week, you will receive individual feedback on your homework answers.

Time Requirement:
About 15 hours per week, at times of  your choosing.

Students come to the Institute for a variety of reasons. As you begin the course, you will be asked to specify your category:

  1. You may be interested only in learning the material presented, and not be concerned with grades or a record of completion.
  2. You may be enrolled in PASS (Programs in Analytics and Statistical Studies) that requires demonstration of proficiency in the subject, in which case your work will be assessed for a grade.
  3. You may require a "Record of Course Completion," along with professional development credit in the form of Continuing Education Units (CEU's).  For those successfully completing the course,  CEU's and a record of course completion will be issued by The Institute, upon request.

Course Text:

The text is Statistics: Making Sense of Data, by Stout, Marden and Travers. It will be provided in electronic form.


No software is required for this course. Students will be given access to an Excel add-in (Windows only) called Box Sampler that will run many demos to illustrate course concepts. Information about Box Sampler (and other statistical software) can be found here.

Survey of Statistics for Beginners

February 17, 2017 to March 10, 2017February 16, 2018 to March 09, 2018

Course Fee: $399