Hi everyone! Read through the material below, watch the videos, work on the Excel lecture and follow up with your instructor if you have questions.

Learning Outcomes.

  • Know the difference between descriptive and inferential statistics.
  • Understand what a sample and population are (data for a sample is often collected even though what is of interest is the population).
  • Begin to create an understanding of the difference between probability and statistics (probability is the engine that makes statistics work, although there is a bit of a “which comes first, the chicken or the egg” issue).
  • Excel: format cells, use multiple worksheets, formulas (functions) and relative/absolute cell references.

Topic. This lesson is an introduction to Excel, Probability and Statistics

WeBWorK. Sets 1.1 & 1.2

Install Microsoft Office on any device (tablet, laptop, desktop) that you may use for your coursework.

Excel Lecture #1,

Below you will find a video to help you get started with Excel. For a more extensive introduction, try up to lesson 16 in the mini course by GCFglobal. When doing this course, have an Excel file open (perhaps the provided practice workbook). Those with Microsoft experience may opt to skip the first few lessons and begin with “5 Cell Basics“.


What is Statistics?
Introduction to Excel

The applied view

For most lessons, there will be a section on applications. Oftentimes, it will include a link to a video from the series Against All Odds. Following the link will be a series of questions. While your ability to apply the concepts is our ultimate concern, your instructor will work this material into your section in varying degrees. In particular, your answers to the questions may or may not be collected. However, regardless, you will develop a deeper understanding and benefit intellectually as you grapple with the content of these videos.

Watch the introductory video What is Statistics?

  • Where have you encountered statistics before? In newspapers? In a class for your major? In a science (physical or social) class?
  • In your encounters, has the statistics been entirely descriptive (tables, graphs) or also inferential (predicting something about a population based on a sample)?
  • Another part of the course is probability. Sometimes the ideas of probability are used in a nuanced way. Do you know what it means for the “chance of precipitation to be 20%”? It turns out that this can mean something very different depending on the season.

Exit Ticket

What is a daily, weekly or monthly task you think you can use Excel to help you accomplish?