Statistics for Modern Business Decisions

Course Information, Fall 2005


Monnie McGee

Office hours:

T TH 11:00 a.m. - Noon


Heroy 104


Other times by appointment


214 768 2462







Statistics for Modern Business Decisions introduces business students to basic statistical concepts and techniques needed for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting quantitative information required for making sound business decisions. The overall theme of the course is looking at information in order to solve business problems intelligently. Emphasis in the course is neither on algebraic derivations nor on the memorization of mathematical formulas, but on using graphical and numerical methods to convey information on business processes.  This information can be critically important for making business decisions in a competitive marketplace. No previous knowledge of statistics is required for this course.

Modern, highly competitive business environments rely on computer technology and software in all facets of the organization. The use of Excel software in this course prepares you to be able to function in these environments and it enables you to concentrate most of your time on interpretation and decision-making, not on the drudgery of making calculator calculations and graphs. In addition, you will learn how to use the Internet to send and retrieve documents, as well as examine data.  No prior knowledge of computing is required for this course.

Text, Software, and Website

Required Text: David S.  Moore, George P. McCabe, William M. Duckworth, and Stanley L. Sclove (2003). The Practice of Business Statistics: Using Data for Decisions (with CD-ROM).  New York: W.H Freedman.

Note:  If you buy a used text without the CD-ROM, you are still responsible for the material on the CD-ROM! There are several data sets on the CD-ROM that we will be using in homework problems and labs.

Software: This course will make extensive use of statistical software modules on Microsoft Excel.  Excel is a spreadsheet software program that is widely available on IBM-compatible personal computers. Both the computers and the software needed for the requirements of this course are available in the Center for Media Instruction and Technology (CMIT), located in Fondren Library West (FLW), but all assignments requiring the use of Microsoft Excel may be done on your own personal computer -- they need not be done in the labs in CMIT. Regularly scheduled laboratory sessions on Monday will be held in Room G15 in the basement of Clements Hall.  It is not necessary to buy this software, as it is available on any campus computer.

Website: All lecture notes are available on Blackboard at the university web site Enter this web site using your SMU id number (without the dash) as both the logon account number and the password (unless you've already changed the password). The lecture notes are downloadable but they do not replace the textbook as the primary reference source. The lecture notes are cross-referenced with the textbook to facilitate the integration of the textbook and the lecture notes.

Assignments and Labs

Assignments are administered solely to enhance the understanding of course material.  They also provide quick feedback to me about your mastery of the topics covered. Assignments are given weekly, covering that week's course material. Assignments for a particular week are due at the beginning of your Monday lab session, unless instructed otherwise.  You are permitted to give and to receive help on assignments so long as the work turned in has been written (or computed) by you.  Where appropriate, show your work so that partial credit may be given.  Write legibly - we cannot give you credit for an assignment if we can't read and understand your work!  Write only on one side of a page and clip or staple all pages of an assignment together.  Fold your paper lengthwise and write your name and lab section on the outside of the folded paper.

Lab sessions are designed to extend the course lecture material to real applications, which necessarily require the use of appropriate computer software.  Lab sessions will concentrate on the use of Microsoft Excel to provide the statistical calculations and graphics needed for the analysis of case studies and other topics structured to provide realistic problem-solving activities in a business setting.  Experience with Microsoft Excel is obtained primarily through the Lab sessions.  Each Lab session is intended to be self-contained and all work is completed in the session itself.  It is imperative that you arrive at the Lab session on time since instruction will begin promptly when the period begins so that all work can be completed prior to the end of the period.  Lab work is due at midnight every Monday (12:00 a.m. Tuesday morning), if you are not able to complete the work in lab.  Assistance is provided in the Lab session.  There are no make-up labs since the labs change every week; however, two lab grades will be dropped when final grades are calculated.  You may only turn in a lab if you were actually present in the lab, unless prior arrangements with the lab instructor have been made.

As mentioned above, the weekly assignments and labs are intended to foster your learning by enabling you to remain current on topics covered in the weekly lecture sessions.  The weekly labs will complement the material covered in that week's lectures.  In order for this learning process to be most effective, you must complete assignments during the week they are assigned and must at least briefly review lecture material prior to the lab sessions. Assignments will be collected during the first 5 minutes of the lab session in which they are due.   No assignments will be accepted after that time.  I repeat - no late assignments will be accepted.

If you add the course after the beginning of the semester, you are responsible for making up any work that you have missed!

Assistance Outside of Class

Assistance on any of the course material, assignments, computer usage, etc. can be obtained in a variety of ways.  Both the course instructor and the teaching assistants (TAs) hold regular office hours. My office hours are listed above.  The TA’s office hours will be announced during the first lab session.  Office hours are times that the instructor and TA set aside especially to work with our students.  No appointments are necessary during office hours – just pop in if you have a moment.  Appointments can be made outside of regular office hours by contacting the TA or the course instructor by phone or email.  Additional help sessions will be conducted each Thursday evening at times that will be announced.  These Thursday evening sessions are completely optional and are being held solely for your benefit.  At the help sessions, you can receive individual or group assistance with the understanding or clarification of any of the lecture material, individual assistance on assignments, or help preparing for exams.  If the Thursday evening sessions do not fit your schedule, please do not hesitate to ask for help at times that are more convenient.  Additional assistance is also available at Altschuler Learning Enhancement Center (ALEC) located adjacent to Ford Stadium.  An advanced graduate student in statistics will be available at the ALEC at hours to be announced in class.

With the office hours I hold, those of my TA, the assistance of the ALEC tutor, and the Thursday evening sessions, you have every opportunity to receive all the individual help you might need in order to successfully complete this course.  You have only to ask.  If you do not ask, we will not know that you need help.

Guidelines for Using E-mail

I do not mind your contacting me by e-mail to ask substantive questions or to schedule appointments.  However, I request that you follow some simple guidelines.  First, please put "Statistics 2301" in the subject line of your message.  I am in the habit of deleting e-mails without reading them from addresses that I do not recognize.  Placing the correct title in the subject line will prevent me from deleting your e-mail.  Also, please allow me 48 hours to respond to your request.  I typically am not in the office after 4 in the afternoon; therefore any e-mail sent after that time will not be read until the next day.  I usually check e-mail at home before going to bed, but this is not guaranteed. 

Learning Differences

Disability Accommodations:  Students needing academic accommodations for a disability must first contact Ms. Rebecca Marin, Coordinator, Services for Students with Disabilities (214-768-4557)* to verify the disability and establish eligibility for accommodations.  They should then schedule an appointment with the professor to make appropriate arrangements.  (See University Policy No. 2.4.)  No special accommodations for exams can be made without prior notification of a certified disability from the Dean of Student Life.  Please provide this certification as soon as possible.

Attendance and Participation

Performance in this course is very closely associated with class attendance.  Students are strongly encouraged to attend every class and every lab session.  There will be a sign-in sheet every class so that I can monitor class attendance.  If you miss more than two classes in a row, I will contact your advisor to alert him or her to your absences.  Students with excessive absences are requested to visit with me to determine whether there are avoidable or correctable circumstances that can be improved to increase attendance.  Students are responsible for all announcements and assignments given in classes they are unable to attend.  If you miss a class, please check the course website for any assignments and announcements made that day.

Learning is a process that is greatly enhanced by communication between students and instructors.  Hence, class discussions are valued.  Students are encouraged to ask questions and to participate in class discussions.  Differences of opinion or perspective are welcomed.  In fairness to and respect for other students, however, conduct or speech that is disruptive or offensive cannot be tolerated. 

Students who arrive at class late or who leave class early can easily disrupt the learning process.  Out of respect for other students, please do not come to class late.  No student should ever leave class early.  Should an unavoidable need arise for you to have to leave a class early, please let me know at the beginning of class so that an accommodation can be made that will not disrupt the rest of the students.  Also, cell phones and pagers must be turned off before entering the class.

Religious Observance: Religiously observant students wishing to be absent on holidays that require missing class should notify the professor in writing (e-mail is OK) at the beginning of the semester.  The deadline for the Fall 2005 semester is September 1.  You should discuss with the professor, in advance, acceptable ways of making up any work missed because of the absence.  (See University Policy No. 1.9.)

Excused Absences for University Extracurricular Activities:  Students participating in an officially sanctioned, scheduled University extracurricular activity will be given the opportunity to make up class assignments or other graded assignments missed as a result of their participation.  It is the responsibility of the student to make arrangements with the instructor prior to any missed scheduled examination or other missed assignment for making up the work.  (University Undergraduate Catalogue)

Examinations and Grading

Course grades will be calculated using the following weights:


% of Final Grade

Due Date


Semester Exams (3)

20 each (total of 40)

9/8, 10/6, 11/17

Lowest exam grade dropped.  No make ups without 24 hours prior notice.

Weekly Homework


Every Monday in lab.

Drop Lowest grade.

Class Work



In class assignments in groups during class.  Two assignments dropped.



Every Monday unless otherwise noted.

Drop Two Lowest Lab grades

Final Exam


See Final Exam Schedule

Mandatory for all students.  It will be cumulative.


The regular semester examinations will be held on the dates listed in the syllabus.  Barring unforeseen circumstances, these dates are firm.  Should the need arise to reschedule an exam, at least one week prior notice will be given.  These examinations are not comprehensive but the subjects covered in each of the blocks of instruction that precede the exams often build on previous material.  You are permitted to bring a calculator and one 3"x5" note card to each of the exams.  The note cards are intended as an aid in organizing your preparation for the exams.  The note card must have your name and it must be written in your own handwriting (the Honor Code applies here).  You will be required to turn the index card in with the completed exam.  The index card will ordinarily be returned with the graded exam.  For the final examination, you will be able to use one sheet of 8.5 inch by 11-inch paper (both sides) for notes.  Your calculator need not be an expensive one, just ensure that it has buttons that automatically calculate averages and standard deviations.

Examinations must be taken on the date and at the time indicated.  A grade of zero will be given for any missed exam.  There are no make-up exams. If an unavoidable conflict arises, permission may be given to take an exam at an alternative time, 24 hours prior to the scheduled date.  Such permission must be sought prior to the exam date.  The final exam is mandatory for all students, and its grade will not be dropped.  The lowest grade of the three semester exams will be dropped in calculating the final grade.

The SMU Honor Code will be strictly enforced. Students caught giving or receiving unauthorized help on any exam will either be given a course grade of zero or taken before the Honor Council, depending on the nature and circumstances of the violation. 



Cut this document here.  Give your signature to Dr. McGee and keep the document for your reference.

Students who do not sign and return this document will not receive grades for any work, nor will their work be returned, until they do so.

Please give this signed sheet to the professor or a TA at your earliest convenience.  Keep the course information sheet for future reference.



I have read the course information sheet for Statistics 2301.







Please Print Your Name Below!  I can’t always read the signatures I receive!