Stat 312: Probability and Statistics for Engineers

Dennis Sun, Cal Poly, Winter 2022

Course Info

  • Class Meetings: Fridays 12-2 or 2-4 PM in 38-123
  • Course Website:


Prof. Dennis Sun
  • Office: Building 25, Room 109
  • Office Hours (in person and on Mon, 1-2:30 PM, Tues 2-3 PM, Wed (usually) 12-4 PM
TA: Andrew Nguyen

Class Structure

This is a hybrid class. You will learn most of the concepts and theory at home on Mon-Thurs. In class on Fri, we will do activities that reinforce those concepts.

Mon-Wed: Concepts and Theory

Each week, I will post a handout and videos in a space (the links to the space will be posted on the lectures page. This is a virtual world where you control a character and can interact with other students who are learning the material at the same time.

Even though this content is provided asynchronously to give you flexibility, my hope is that will make it feel like a classroom, since you will see other students learning with you.

Deliverable: Upload the completed handout to Canvas by the end of the day on Wednesday.

A word about etiquette:

  • Please use your real name so that I know that you are in the class. (Feel free to use first name and last initial, if you are concerned about privacy.)
  • When you finish, please close the window so that the room doesn't get too crowded.

Thurs: Statistical Computing

When learning the concepts and theory for the first time, it is helpful to do a few computations by hand. But data analysis is best done using a computer. On Thursdays, you will learn how to implement the week's concepts in the statistical programming language R. No programming experience is assumed!

We will have several tutors, who will be on the space at the following times. Look for them by the fireplace / piano.

  • Charlie: 10:30 - 11:30 AM
  • Will: 1 - 2 PM
  • Andrew: 7 - 8 PM
  • Katey: 6 - 7 PM
They are available to answer questions or even to walk you through the Colab.

Deliverable: Upload your R assignment to Canvas before noon on Friday.

Fri: In-Class

Each week in class, we will do an activity that reinforces that week's concepts. Then, I will provide a preview of the next week's concepts.


  • 5 quizzes: 40%
    1. Quiz 1 (interview, over Zoom): Wed, Jan 19
    2. Quiz 2 (written, in-class): Fri, Jan 28
    3. Quiz 3 (interview, over Zoom): Wed, Feb 9
    4. Quiz 4 (written, in-class): Fri, Feb 18 Fri, Feb 25
    5. Quiz 5 (written, in-class): Fri, Mar 4
  • Final Exam: 40% (Sat, Mar 12, 1-4 PM in the Performing Arts Center - Philips Hall)
  • Completed Handouts: 10%
  • R Assignments: 10%


You will be assigned readings from:

Paulos, John Allen. Innumeracy: Mathematical illiteracy and its consequences. Macmillan, 1988.

Any edition is fine, so feel free to buy an older edition if it is cheaper.

Where to find this book:

  • Buy a used copy from Amazon (usually under $10).
  • Buy or rent from the Cal Poly Bookstore.
  • You can also borrow an electronic version of this book for free from the Internet Archive. You just need to create a (free) Internet Archive account. Here are some copies I found on Internet Archive; you may find more:
  • I have a few physical copies of the book that you can borrow for the quarter.