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University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Section 1004 (Distance Education)
Statistical Methods in Psychology

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Professor Kim Barchard
Spring 2011 Syllabus

Send comments on this syllabus to Dr. Barchard
Copyright 2011 Russell T. Hurlburt (see terms of use). Last modified 11/08/2010

D.E. Logo PSY210: Statistical Methods in Psychology

Course Goals and Overview

This course has two major goals: (a) to acquire an understanding of basic statistical concepts; and (b) to be able to perform accurately basic statistical computations. Students will demonstrate their understanding by providing "eyeball-estimates" of all statistics before computations are performed.

The course lectures are delivered as RealAudio streams both across the World Wide Web and on the Personal Trainer CD (included free with your textbook). Thus these lectures are asynchronous -- available any place and any time you have access to the Web or the CD. See How this course works.

The course exams take place according to a fixed schedule -- that is the exams are not asynchronous. The dates are shown below. You must take the exams between 8:00 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. (last exam starts at 11:00) on the assigned dates either at Distance Education on the UNLV campus or at a remote proctored site arranged by UNLV Distance Education. See Examinations and grades.

Tentative examination dates (2011): Tuesday, February 1; Tuesday, February 22; Thursday, March 24; Tuesday, Apriil 19; and Thursday, May 12.

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Who Should Take This Course?

Anyone who is eligible to take a course at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas may take this course. You do not need to be physically present in Las Vegas because the entire course (except the exams, which must be taken in proctored locations) will be available at any time and any place served by the world wide web.

However, you should recognize that success in this course requires that you be self-motivated. There are no scheduled class meetings to "remind" you that it is time to think about statistics.

Furthermore, your success in this class relies heavily on your ability to read and understand the textbook. There will be short lectures ("lectlets"), but some of the material in this class will be presented only in the textbook. (Students generally find the textbook to be very clear and self-explanatory.)

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Computer Equipment You Will Need

Computer requirements are: Putting it all together: If all your equipment is installed correctly, you should be able to play the "lectlets" that form the core of this course.

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Download the RealPlayer plugin

RealPlayer is software that allows your browser to play audio (and video) selections that are encoded in the RealPlayer format. RealPlayer is distributed free of charge by its developer, RealNetworks Inc. When you click the Download RealPlayer Now button below, you will be taken to the RealNetworks site.

The RealNetworks site will try to sell you a product called RealPlayer Plus G2. For this course, you do not need to purchase RealPlayer Plus G2 (it will work fine, so if it has features you want, by all means buy it).

Find the button on the RealNetworks site that allows you to download the free version (which is called simply RealPlayer). At the time this syllabus was prepared, there was a blue button called "Free RealPlayer G2" at the upper right corner of the RealNetworks site, but they could change that at any time.

Windows users: When you begin the download of RealPlayer, jot down the file name (which will be named something like rp50_30.exe) and the path. Then, when downloading is complete, exit your browser, use My Computer to find that file, and double-click its icon. That will install RealPlayer for your browser. When you are satisfied that RealPlayer is installed, you may delete the rp50_30.exe file.

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Required Materials for PSY210

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Arithmetic Prerequisite

Introductory psychology (PSY101) and college algebra (Mat 096, 124, or 126 or satisfactory placement on the mathematics pretest) are prerequisites for this course. Take the "Self-test for arithmetic" found in Appendix B of the textbook immediately. If you don't score 90% or higher on that test, you should seriously consider dropping this course and adding an algebra course.

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How to Register for PSY210.1004

Use the same registration procedure you would use for any other UNLV course. The course number is "PSY210 Section 1004."

You will need the "call" number to register for this course. The call number is shown in the following paragraph. Please ensure that you have the computer equipment necessary to operate this course (see "Computer equipment you will need" in this syllabus).

If you have the proper equipment installed, and you can be present for the exams on the dates specified, the call number is 27083.

For additional information you may contact the UNLV Office of Distance Education at (702) 895-0334.

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How This Course Works

As you proceed through the course, you will listen to Dr. Hurlburt provide a brief "lectlet" introducing the material you will read. These short introductions will take the place of classroom lectures, and provide some demonstrations that are impossible in printed form. Lectlets are available on the Personal Trainer CD that is included free with the textbook. The lectlets are also available on the Internet.

You will also read a section of Dr. Hurlburt's textbook, widely regarded as one of the clearest and most innovative textbooks available.

After each few chapters, you will go to a testing center (either at UNLV or at a remote location) where a proctor will administer the examination on those chapters.

Thus PSY210 is an optimized multimedia presentation of statistical material. It seeks to capitalize on the advantages of each medium by

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Why a Textbook is the Optimal Way to Present Content

A textbook is:

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Why a Locally Installed Computer Program is the Optimal Way to Explore Data

A locally installed computer program is:

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Why Lectlets are the Optimal Way to Introduce Topics

A lectlet is:

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Why the Web (or the Personal Trainer CD) is the Optimal Way to Provide Course Structure

Material on the web is:

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Why live proctored examination settings are the Optimal Way to Take Exams

A live proctored examination is:

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Advice from Former Students

Near the end of semesters, I ask students who were just completing PSY210 (both live classroom and distance education) whether they had any advice they would like to share with incoming students. Was there anything that they wished they had known at the beginning of the semester? Here's what they said, basically unedited...
Here's my piece of advice to future statistic students: Do the homework!
tThis is the first method that I have ever used to truly learn statistics. If you follow the plan as he has outlined you will do well. The lectlets are great, the book is well written, informative but not dry, and the quizzes keep you on your toes. Do not get behind, do the work assigned and enjoy an understanding of Statistical Methods.
If you stay on top of everything there is no way you won't understand what is going on. Read the book, listen to the lectlets and take advantage of everything offered on the Personal Trainer. If you keep up with the syllabus there is no way you will fail.
Here's my suggestion for taking the class: You need to do all the homework assignments for every chapter so it will help you understand the subject as well as getting extra credit for it... make sure you go to class every day or listen to the lectlets... and make sure you do all the extra credit... if you do all of these, you'll be more likely to get an A for this class...:)
My advice would be to definitely do the homework problems, which help tremendously with the test. I would also recommend reading the book along with taking lecture notes because your tests have information in them that is more thoroughly discussed in your book, although your lectures are great too.
It's also good to take notes from the book as you read, and draw the distributions that are given as examples in the book.
The last thing that I would recommend is trying to understand statistics, not just memorize the equations. When you do that, the class is so much easier to understand.
My advice would be for distance ed students to try to get together during the semester and chat about the class, homework, problems, or solutions. This method seems to help in other D.E. classes and could be a real advantage here too.
I wish there was advice when I first started the class!
For both live and distance-education classes I would tell them to pay strict attention to the side notes (in the textbook margins) and definitely listen to the lectlets whether they are distance ed or not. For me, it really made a difference in my comprehension of difficult principles.
I think it is a very good idea to have input from prior students because an online course- especially this course!- can be very intimidating.
I found that the strong points of the course were in the organization of the material. There was not any concept that I could not learn if I just went back and listened again to the lectlets or went over the ESTAT lessons again. I found they were more helpful than the book, which was easier to get lost in.
My best advice is to make sure to set aside Monday night or a night early on in the week to do the lectlets and quizzes because they are due on Fridays. Make it like an actual classroom hour. Too many times I had to rush a quiz out in the end because I procrastinated.
I really felt that this was an easy class to comprehend if you put the normal amount of time in to it you would any class -- nothing extraordinary. It is that explicative and interactive.

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Kim Barchard

Kim Barchard is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. For more information visit her web site

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Examinations and Grades

Examinations will by proctored by UNLV Distance Education, and will take place on the campus at UNLV (at a location to be announced). It is also possible to make arrangements for proctors at other locations both within Nevada and around the world; click here for more information. All examinations will be proctored by employees of UNLV or their designees.

Examinations 1, 2, 3, and 4 will each last 75 minutes and must begin between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on the day scheduled.

These examinations will be closed book and closed notes, but you may use a calculator during the exam. You may bring to all exams one 'exam notes sheet' of your own creation, using one or both sides of an 8.5 X 11 inch piece of paper. Do not bother to write out equations; we will provide a Xerox copy of the equations that are shown in the inside front and back covers of your textbook.

The last exam will be take home and will actually be two exams in one. One of these last exams, Examination 5, will cover Chapters 16, 17, and 18 and will have the same format as the first four exams. As with the previous exams, this score may be dropped if it is your lowest score. The other last exam will be the Cumulative Review Final Exam and will have the same format as Section C of the homework exercises for Chapters 10 through 18. The Cumulative Review Exam is not droppable.

Examination 5 and the Cumulative Review Final Exam are take home, open notes, open book, and are not timed. They are both due at the time shown on this schedule (which is the time shown for the final exam in the UNLV course schedule).

We will drop the your lowest score on the five chapter Examinations and the lab quiz composite score.

Your final grade will be therefore based on six equally weighted scores: the best five of the Examinations and lab quiz composite, and the Cumulative Review Final Exam. Note that the Cumulative Review Final Exam is not droppable. (We will drop your quiz composite score if it is your lowest score.)

Each of those scores is worth 100 points. Therefore your final grade will be based on 600 points. Grade categories will be 10% wide; thus an A will be 540 points and above; a B will be 480 points and above, a C will be 420, a D 360, and and F 359 and below.

Homework will 'soften' the edges of these categories. For example, if your total points is 539 and you have done no homework, you will receive a B. However, if you have done some of the homework, you will receive an A. The more homework you have done, the more lenient we will be.

There will be no make-up exams. If you miss an exam, that will be the score that will be dropped.

NOTE: I take an extremely dim view of cheating, and will recommend penalties as extreme as the UNLV Code allows.

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Remote (distant from UNLV) students
If you wish to take examinations at a site distant from UNLV, you must arrange a proctor that is satisfactory to Dr. Barchard This proctor may be a university or community college professor in your local location, a librarian, a police officer, etc. We will fax exams to the proctor, who will fax your answers back to us. The same exam dates and times apply as for local students.

Once you have arranged a proctor, email the proctor's name, affiliation, e-mail address, and fax number to Dr. Barchard at kim.barchard@unlv.edu

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