Spring 2017 – Math 58B

Introduction to Biostatistics

Math 58B, Spring 2017

Jo Hardin
2351 Millikan

Office Hours: Tuesday 10am – 12pm, Thursday 1:00-3:30pm, or by appointment

Mentor: Madison Hobbs
Mondays 7-9pm and Thursdays 6-8pm in Millikan 2131

LiCMath Mentor: Maria Martinez
Time TBD

Homework Assignments

Exam 1 (Monday, Feb 27)

Exam 2 (Wednesday, April 12)

Final Exam (Monday, 5/08/17, 9am — in-class and take home portions)

Text: I will follow ISCAM reasonably closely. The examples are quite insightful, and if you read them closely, you will gain a deep understanding of the course material. I have posted the daily sections on the course homework page. It would do you well to read over the text before we cover the material in class.

Investigating Statistical Concepts, Applications, and Methods, by Chance & Rossman (purchase the R version here for $5: http://rossmanchance-2.myshopify.com/collections/r-1).

ISCAM website with homework & applets

Some of the topics we cover will come from: Introductory Statistics with Randomization and Simulation, by Diez et al. (https://www.openintro.org/stat/textbook.php?stat_book=isrs).  The relevant sections have been matched to ISCAM on the HW schedule.



  • Homework will be assigned from the text and due every Wednesday.
    • One homework grade will be dropped.
    • HW is graded on a scale of 5/4/3/2/1. See the first HW assignment for more information.
    • All R HW problems should be turned in as HTML or pdf documents from an R Markdown file.
    • The practice problems (PP) are at the end of each investigation (in the text).
    • The homework problems (HW) are online at: http://www.rossmanchance.com/iscam3/instructors.html


  • There will be weekly labs and corresponding assignments. The lab assignments can be done outside of class, but attending lab is highly recommended. One lab grade will be dropped.


  • R will be used for many homework assignments.
  • You will be using R on the Pomona server: https://rstudio.campus.pomona.edu/ (All Pomona students will be able to log in immediately. Non-Pomona students need to go to ITS at Pomona to get Pomona login information.)
  • If you want to use R on your own machine, you may. Please make sure all components are updated:


  • This class will be very interactive which means that you are not only expected to come to class but also to participate in class. There will often be assignments due during class periods, and I will expect everyone to be actively participating in any activities which take place during the class. In class assignments and activities will contribute to your participation grade.
  • One piece of this class that contributes to the “B” (Math 58B) will be that we will have weekly articles from the national press on statistics related to the biological and health sciences. It is your responsibility to read the articles and come to class prepared to discuss them.


  • Math 58B will have Learning Community in Mathematics (LiCMATH, pronounced “Like Math”). Every year we invite a diverse group of students to apply to the program. Members of the Learning Communities in Mathematics are required to attend weekly LiCMATH workshops, during which they work on challenging statistics problems with the help of each other and a student mentor. While participation in LiCMATH is restricted, any interested student planning to take statistics is eligible to apply.

Reflection Questions:

  • For each chapter, I will provide a list of questions (linked above) designed to help you reflect on the big picture of what we’ve covered. They will help you get unstuck from the weeds of technical details, computing, and HW problems. You should use them regularly: both to check your understanding and to study for exams. If you don’t know the answer to any question on material we have covered, you should clarify the concept with the mentor or the instructor as quickly as possible.

Academic Honesty:

  • Pomona College is an academic community, all of whose members are expected to abide by ethical standards both in their conduct and in their exercise of responsibilities toward other members of the community. The college expects students to understand and adhere to basic standards of honesty and academic integrity. These standards include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • In projects and assignments prepared independently, students never represent the ideas or the language of others as their own.
    • Students do not destroy or alter either the work of other students or the educational resources and materials of the College.
    • Students neither give nor receive assistance in examinations.
    • Students do not take unfair advantage of fellow students by representing work completed for one course as original work for another or by deliberately disregarding course rules and regulations.
    • In laboratory or research projects involving the collection of data, students accurately report data observed and do not alter these data for any reason.


  • Please feel free to stop by, email, or call if you have any questions about or difficulty with the material, the computing, the projects, or the course. Come see me as soon as possible if you find yourself struggling. The material will build on itself, so it will be much easier to catch up if the concepts get clarified earlier rather than later. Enjoy!


  • 15% Homework
  • 15% Labs
  • 40% Midterm Exams
  • 20% Final Exam
  • 10% Class Participation