Morrisville State College

Dr. Walid H. Shayya
School of Agriculture and Natural Resouces

Course Outline for AGSC 135

Computer Applications in Research I


Spring 2002

WebCT Access of Course Material On-line (for students enrolled in the course)


Dr. Walid H. Shayya

Instructor Contact Information


AGSC 135 is the first of two one-credit courses in the laptop curriculum of Agricultural Science involving the application of agricultural statistics and computers in research. The course encompasses an introduction to statistical methods to agricultural science students using examples and applications to which students can easily relate.  The course also focuses on teaching students basic statistical analysis using the MS Excel spreadsheet program and other pertinent computer tools.  Students enrolled in AGSC 135, which is part of the laptop curriculum, will be introduced to these important concepts through lectures and exercises that they may complete on their laptops.  Emphasis will be placed on providing the student with problem-solving skills and the ability to interpret the results of basic statistical analysis.

Following a brief introduction to statistics and statistical inference, students enrolled in AGSC 135 are introduced to common measures of central tendency and dispersion used in summarizing data followed by an introduction to the main concepts of probability and probability distributions.  Towards the end of the semester, students enrolled in AGSC 135 will be provided with key material on sampling and sampling distributions.


  1. To provide the student with a basic understanding of statistical methods, probability, correlation analysis, and linear regression as related to agricultural science.
  2. To provide the student with an appreciation of the types of problems in agriculture that can be analyzed statistically.
  3. To acquaint the student with the use of computer technology in interpreting research data and making presentations.
  4. To get the student acquainted with using the laptop in his/her courses.


The instructor has the following designated office hours per week:

  • Tuesdays: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Wednesdays: 10:00 to 12:00 a.m.
  • Fridays: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

If necessary, students are also encouraged to make appointments to see the instructor at other times. Students with disabilities who require accommodations to fully-participate in the course activities are requested to contact the instructor within the first two weeks of the semester.


This is a one-credit hour course. The class includes one contact hour per week for 15 weeks.  The class meets on Tuesdays from 5:00 to 5:50 p.m. in Room 102, Marshall Hall.


Davis, B. 2000. Introduction to Agricultural Statistics. Delmar, Albany, New York.

Shayya, W.H. 2000. Using Excel to Analyze Data: An Introductory Tutorial (on-line tutorial). 


  • Attendance: Given the nature of the course, all students are urged to attend all classes. Attendance will be taken during each class session and appropriate actions will be taken when students have more than 2 unexcused absences during the semester. Very few or no absences will be considered during the grading process when the student is close to receiving the next higher letter grade. No make-up examination will be given without a written medical excuse, family emergency, or prior permission from the instructor. Students are responsible for all materials covered in the class whether presented orally during lectures or assigned.
  • Assignments: This course will include six homework assignments of equal weights.  At the end of the semester, the assignment with the lowest grade for each student will be dropped.  Class assignments will account for 25% of the final grade.  Therefore, it is important that students complete their assignments accurately, neatly, and on time. Assignments received past the due date will be devalued 5% for each day that the item is late.  No class assignment of any student will be graded (for credit) once the same assignment is corrected and returned to the class.  A student missing an assignment will receive a grade of zero on that assignment.  
  • Examinations: There will be a midterm examination and a comprehensive final in AGSC 135.  Class examinations will cover class material, homework assignments, and assigned readings.
  • Academic honesty policy: The College imposes specific actions in response to incidents of cheating and academic dishonesty. These procedures will be followed and appropriate actions will be taken if these event were to occur.
  • Class behavior: Good behavior in the classroom is expected from all students.   Students who engage in unacceptable behavior will be asked to leave the class.
  • Things to remember: The material covered in AGSC 135 should be straightforward and easy, only if the student keeps up with this material (understanding earlier lectures will be critical to grasping concepts presented in subsequent lectures) and puts in the effort.  Each student should plan to spend at least two hours per week for every lecture convened in class.  Given the course's focus, students are urged to spend the time in solving problems and completing the required homework assignments on time (and independently).  Solving additional problems from the text and revisiting the problems solved in the class will be very helpful.  Completing assignments well before the due date will give the student a chance to ask questions should he/she encounter problems.  Students also should remember to ask questions of the instructor when they face difficulties, whether inside or outside the classroom.  The instructor has an open-door policy and welcomes the opportunity to visit with students whenever needed.


  • Class Participation, Attendance, Work Ethic ==> 5% of final grade
  • Homework Assignments ==> 25% of final grade
  • Midterm Examination (during the lecture of week 10) ==> 20% of final grade
  • Data Analysis Project ==> 15% of final grade
  • Final Examination (comprehensive) ==> 35% of final grade


The distribution of grades in this course will be based on the A-F College grading scheme. The letter grades correspond to the following percentage scale: A (90-100%), A- (87-89.9%), B+ (83-86.9%), B (80-82.9%), B- (77-79.9%), C+ (73-76.9%), C (70-72.9%), C- (67-69.9%), D+ (63-66.9%), D (60-62.9%), and F (<60%).




Lecture Topic*

Textbook/On-line Resources Homework
1 1/15/02 - Introduction to AGSC135    
2 1/22/02 - Introduction to Agricultural Statistics Chapter 1 (pages 1-5)  
3 1/29/02 - Variables and summation
- Different Forms of Presenting Data
Chapter 1 (pages 5-7)
Chapter 2 (pages 9-18)
#1, Problems 2 and 3 on page 8
4 2/05/02 - Introduction to Excel Excel On-line Introductory Tutorial #2, Excel Assignment
5 2/12/02 - Introduction to Summarizing Data Using Excel Excel On-line Introductory Tutorial  
Week 6 - Break 1 - No classes
7 2/26/02 - Introduction to Graphical  Representation of Summarized Data Using Excel Excel On-line Introductory Tutorial #3, Excel Assignment
8 3/05/02 - Measuring Central Tendency of Data Chapter 2 (pages 18-24)  
9 3/12/02 - Measures of Dispersion (Range and Standard Deviation Deviation) Chapter 2 (pages 24-28) #4, Problems 1, 4, and 5 on pages 31 and 32
10 3/19/02 - Hands-on Exercise on Summarizing Data
- Midterm Exam Study Guide
On-Line Handout on Common Excel Functions #5, Problem set on summarizing data using Excel
11 3/26/02 Midterm Examination    
Week 12 - Break 2 - No classes
13 4/09/02 - Data Sets
- Set Operations
Chapter 3 (pages 39-42) Data Analysis Project
14 4/16/02 - Methods of Counting (permutations and combinations) Chapter 3 (pages 33-36)  
15 4/23/02 - Probability
- Rules of Probability
- Mathematical Expectation
Chapter 3 (pages 36-45)  
16 4/30/02 - Probability Density Functions
- Normal Probability Distribution
Chapter 4 (pages 49-59) #6, Problems 8 and 11 on page 61
17 5/7/02 - Probability Distribution Functions in Excel
- Final Exam Study Guide

*The topics listed in the table above are tentative and may be subject to change during the semester.