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Introductory Statistics and Probability--Economics 2370

Sharon I. O'Donnell
Organization: University of Houston
Department: Department of Economics
Education level


  • to introduce students to the fundamentals of statistics and probability
  • prerequisite for Economics 4365, Statistical Methods in Economics Research (Undergraduate course in Econometrics)

  • Introduction to Probability and Statistics, 10th edition, Mendenhall et al.
  • Mathematica notebooks - used for in-class demonstrations of various statistical concepts

The course includes presentations of data through graphs and charts, frequency distributions, measures of central tendency and dispersion, probability and probability distributions, sampling plans and hypothesis testing of large and small samples.

Mathematica was used for in-class demonstrations of basic statistical concepts. Textbooks provide static information, presenting the material in notebook format allowed me to vary any presentation as desired by the class. A portion of the notebooks made use of animation - students were able to watch the graph of the normal distribution change with the change of its variance or with the change of its mean. The University of Houston has a site license for Mathematica - students purchase the package at a very low price - from their home computers, they were able to replay the demonstrations from lecture as well as use the package for homework assignments.

For homework assignments, I prepared a set of notebooks that students could download from home. The data set and the set of homework questions were included in each notebook. Because I was using Mathematica, I could ask the students to apply any of the tests introduced in the course, not just those tests programmed into the typical statistical application.

*Business and Economics
*Mathematics > Probability and Statistics