Course Syllabus

Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus are subject to change. Instructors will notify students of any changes and students will be responsible for abiding by them. Even if you print this syllabus, please check the online version often.


SRA 365: Statistics for Security and Risk Analysis (3 credits) - Theoretical foundations and practice of intermediate statistics.

“Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship
as the ability to read and write.”
- Darrell Huff (Author of How to Lie with Statistics)

Your student handbook describes this course as:

An “Intermediate-level statistics course emphasizing understanding hypothesis testing and experimental design, a broad array of statistical techniques applied to data analysis, and computer tools to support testing and analysis; specifically applied to information sciences and technology applications.

In reality, this course is a hybrid between traditional statistical theories and understanding data manipulation techniques. SRA is a diverse major. Many of our graduates have reported working with statistics in varying degrees. Some alumni have been directly responsible for analyzing and making sense of large volumes of data through running various statistical analyses, whereas others have mainly needed to be effective consumers of statistical information.


  • STAT 200


Based on the differences in job roles of our graduates, the objectives of this course are to focus on:

  • Critical Thinking
    • To develop problem-solving skills in determining what may be wrong with data
  • Theory
    • To learn the theoretical underpinnings of multiple statistical techniques
  • Application in SPSS
    • To be able to run data analyses using a statistical tool

Considering these objectives, the course will be broken down into the following three units:

  • Unit 1: Critical Thinking
  • Unit 2: Introduction to Data Analysis and Chi-Square Tests
  • Unit 3: Correlation and Regression

These units will include a mix of lectures and assessments to help you better understand and apply the course concepts.


  • TBD


  • TBD

Assessment & Grading

Final grades are based on a tally of the following assignments:

Course Grading Breakdown
Grading Category Total Points Percentage of Final Grade
Homework Assignments (7) 70 ~47%
Critical Thinking Activities (5) 25 ~17%
Group Project 1 Group Paper 20 ~13%
Group Project 2 Executive Summary 35 ~23%
TOTAL 150 100%

Course Grading Scale

The following are minimum cutoffs for each grade:

  • 93.00% = A
  • 90.00% = A-
  • 87.00% = B+
  • 83.00% = B
  • 80.00% = B-
  • 77.00% = C+
  • 70.00% = C
  • 60.00% = D
  • less than 60.00% = F

**Note: You can calculate your grade at any time by dividing your current number of points by the number of points evaluated and multiplying it by 100. The result can then be compared to the grading scheme to determine your current grade.**

Homework Assignments

You will receive a total of 8 homework assignments throughout the semester. Each assignment is worth ten points. Only the top seven homework assignment grades will be used in calculating your overall homework grade. This adds up to a for a total of seventy points across all seven assignments. These assignments will be distributed in Units two and three and are intended to evaluate your understanding of the statistical theory and application presented in those lectures. The questions will consist of a mix of computation and essay-based questions. If you are unsure about the wording of a question in a homework assignment, you are encouraged to ask the instructor questions BEFORE uploading your final submission. Any such concerns raised after the submission and grading of a homework assignment are unlikely to be honored.

Critical Thinking Activities

There will be a total of 5 critical thinking activities, with each worth four points for a total of twenty points. These assignments will be distributed in Unit one and are intended to evaluate your understanding of the Joel Best readings and critical thinking lectures provided each week. These questions will primarily consist of essay-based questions. All questions will be graded based on the accuracy and the thoughtfulness of your response.

Group Projects

You will be working on two group projects throughout the semester in a group of approximately four to six students. The first group project will involve critically evaluating statistical results based on the data manipulation techniques discussed in the course and summarizing your critique in a group paper. This project will evaluate your understanding of the Unit one material. The second group project will involve analyzing, summarizing, and presenting real data. Deliverables for this project include an executive summary and an infographic. This project will evaluate your understanding and applications of the Unit two material. Both group projects will be discussed in further detail as we progress through the course.

Be sure to note that each group grade will be adjusted based on your group members’ ratings of your contribution to the group. You are therefore responsible for ensuring that you meet with your group and engage in completing the task together. The online nature of the course can make working in a group more difficult than in a face-to-face class. Research has shown that prompt and regular communication with your group members can help to reduce some of these difficulties. Group members are therefore expected to be more responsive to emails and messages from their group members than you would be in a face-to-face group. Group members are also encouraged to develop a contract for their group that includes a set of shared expectations on the speed at which messages should be responded to (e.g., within 24 hours), the primary means of communication for the group (e.g., text messaging or emails through Canvas), and the number of meetings that can be missed when working on the project. The contract should be agreed upon by all members of the group. Group members that consistently violate the rules of the contract will be fired by their group and will be expected to complete the project on his/her own. There will be no deadline extensions for such circumstances. A representative from the group should contact the instructor with the change in group membership as soon as the decision has been communicated to the group member.

Course Policies

Your Responsibilities for this Course

  • To Ask Questions
    • You are also encouraged to ask the instructor or teaching assistant questions BEFORE submitting a graded assignment if you are unsure about a concept or the wording of a question. Any such concerns raised after the submission of a graded assignment are unlikely to be honored.
  • To Complete Assignments Early or On-Time
    • All assignments are due 11:59PM EST by the last day of the week (typically Sundays) unless otherwise noted.
    • Assignments submitted after the stated deadline (starting at 12:00AM on Monday) will be assigned a 10% penalty per day late. Assignments will not be accepted more than 2 days after the original deadline.
    • Given the online nature of this course, you are encouraged to submit your assignments early in order to avoid late submissions due to technical difficulties. You are also encouraged to submit assignments early if you have a scheduled event or religious holiday that overlaps with a given deadline.
  • To Maintain Academic Integrity
    • Academic integrity is taken seriously in this course. Any assignment that is not labeled as a group assignment should be completed individually. These submissions should be your own original work.
    • See additional information on academic integrity in Penn State’s policies below.
  • Logging into Canvas - Students are expected to login regularly to check for course updates, announcements, emails, discussions, etc.
  • Emailing through Canvas - Students are expected to use Canvas for all course email communication.
  • Attending virtual meetings - Students are expected to use specified virtual meeting tool(s) for collaboration, meetings, presentations, etc., as needed.

Academic Integrity

Penn State and the College of Information Sciences and Technology are committed to maintaining Penn State's policy on Academic Integrity in this and all other courses. We take academic integrity matters seriously and expect you to become a partner to the University/College standards of academic excellence.

For more information, please review these policies and procedures:

WARNING: In addition to other policies, using any material in any media format - from “answer sites” (such Course Hero, Chegg, and all others) and/or other type of sources - is considered CHEATING and will not be tolerated. Sanctions range from failure of the assignment or course to dismissal from the University. Contact your instructor with questions related to this topic.

University Policies

Review current information regarding various Penn State policies (such as copyright, counseling, psychological services, disability and military accommodations, discrimination, harassment, emergencies, trade names, etc.) on the University Policies page.


Find extensive information and links to many Penn State and IST resources (including the Penn State libraries, video conferencing tools, technology and software, writing and research help, and much more) on the Resources page.

Technical Requirements

Standard World Campus computer technical specifications are assumed for this course. Please test your computer for requirements. In addition, a webcam and a headset with a microphone are REQUIRED for the course. These may be used for virtual meetings, virtual office hours, interactions with classmates and your instructor, and group presentations - which are all conducted with virtual meeting tools. No special software is required.


The following schedule outlines the topics covered in this course, along with the associated time frames, readings, activities, and assignments. All due dates reflect Eastern Time (ET). Specifying the time zone ensures that all students have the same deadlines, regardless of where they live.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due