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    Practical Modern Statistics
    MATH S249
      More information: Course Guide
    Practical Modern Statistics
    Course Start Date
    Spr 2021
    Course Level
    Length in Terms
    2 terms
    Fees ($) (including lab fees)
    Future Terms

    This course has been included in the list of reimbursable courses under the Continuing Education Fund. Click HERE for details.

    Start Date
    Course Level Length in Terms Credits
    Fees ($)
    (including lab fees)
    Future Terms
    Spr 2021
    Middle 2 terms 10
    This course has been included in the list of reimbursable courses under the Continuing Education Fund. Click HERE for details.

    Course Coordinator: Dr Tony MT Chan, Grad Dip, MPhil (CUHK), PhD (CityU)

    Course Developer: The Open University, UK, Course Team

    The course is intended to provide an introduction to four major topics of modern applied statistics: medical statistics, time series, multivariate analysis, and Bayesian statistics. It would be ideal if you’ve already studied a general introductory statistics course and wish to broaden your knowledge of the field. The course emphasises underlying principles and practical applications rather than theoretical details and you will not be required to provide a great deal of algebraic proof in your assignments or in the examination. Use of the computer is an essential component — the course includes SPSS, LearnBayes and WinBUGS software, which you’ll use to analyse data and develop the understanding of statistics. MATH S249 is one of the compulsory middle-level courses for BSc and BSc (Hons) in Statistics and Decision Science.

    This course is also suitable for any learner who wishes to pursue further studies in more sophisticated statistical techniques in order to enhance their career prospects in the areas of medical sciences, the financial sector, atmospheric and environmental sciences.

    Advisory prerequisite(s)
    You are advised to have already studied one of the middle-level statistics courses MATH S245 / MATH S246 / MATH S248 / MATH S280 / MATH S242 or already acquired a basic statistical knowledge at the level of MATH S245 / MATH S246 / MATH S248 / MATH S280 / MATH S242.

    This course aims to:

    • Introduce some of the statistical methods used in epidemiology and identify factors associated with disease;

    • Enable students to analyse data collected over time, and to forecast future values using exponential smoothing and ARIMA models;

    • Enable students to analyse multivariate data through examples in various fields of application and through hands-on experience with the statistical software SPSS;

    • Apply Bayesian methods in many diverse areas including medicine, criminal justice and Internet search engines;

    • Develop learners' skills in using SPSS, LearnBayes and WinBUGS software packages to analyse data and develop their understanding of statistics.

    The course covers the following topics:

    Book 1: Medical statistics

    • Cohort studies and case-control studies

    • Bias, confounding and causation

    • Randomized controlled trials and medical literature.

    Book 2: Time series

    • Decomposition models

    • Exponential smoothing

    • Holt–Winters forecasting

    • Autocorrelation, prediction intervals and model checking

    • ARIMA and autoregressive models.

    Book 3: Multivariate analysis

    • Describing and displaying multivariate data

    • Principal component analysis

    • Discrimination.

    Book 4: Bayesian statistics

    • Bayes' theorem

    • Exploring prior to posterior analyses for a proportion

    • Conjugate analyses

    • Bayesian inference via simulation

    • Markov chain Monte Carlo.

    Learning support
    There will be 12 two-hour tutorials and eight surgeries throughout the course.

    There are four assignments (from which the best three scores will be used to determine the final grade) and a final examination. Students are required to submit assignments via the Online Learning Environment (OLE).

    Online requirement
    This course is supported by the Online Learning Environment (OLE). You can find the latest course information from the OLE. Through the OLE, you can communicate electronically with your tutor and the Course Coordinator as well as other students. To access the OLE, students will need to have access to the Internet. The use of the OLE is required for the study of this course and you can use it to submit assignments.

    The course contains a substantial computing component. You will need access to a computer system capable of running the SPSS, LearnBayes and WinBUGS software packages, playing video CD programmes (a CD-ROM drive is needed) and connecting to the Internet for accessing the OLE. A calculator with basic statistical functions will be required.

    To ensure successful installation, your computer needs to have the minimum requirements:

    • Pentium processor and 1 GB RAM (preferably 2 GB)

    • CD-ROM drive

    • Sound card and speakers

    • Printer and broadband Internet connection

    • Other standard features such as keyboard, mouse and hard drive

    Student will need access to a computer with Microsoft Windows XP or a later version (English or Chinese). This course will also make use of the software packages SPSS, LearnBayes and WinBUGS. A Software Guide will be provided.

    Set book(s)
    There are no set books for this course.

    Student with disabilities or special educational needs
    The audio and visual components of this course may cause difficulties for students with an auditory or visual impairment. You are encouraged to seek the advice from the Course Coordinator before enrolling on the course.

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