This book provides a brief introduction to some common ideas in the study of probability. At the University of Minnesota, this material is included in a course on College Algebra designed to give students the basic skills to take an introductory Statistics course. The material itself is basic, and should be within the grasp of students who have successfully completed a high school Algebra I course. It comprises approximately three weeks worth of material at the college level; a typical college student would spend about 45 hours total learning this material.

These materials are used as part of an active learning course, and the interplay between in-class activities that allow students to explore and discover ideas and a more formulaic study of the necessary computations is important. Each chapter has suggestions for active learning problem-solving activities designed to develop higher-order thinking skills. The video lessons in the chapter sections address a second objective, the skill-building component of mathematics. Can you successfully carry out the calculations necessary to find answers to a variety of applications? Conceptual understanding of the material is important, and instructors are encouraged make use of activities that help students advance the computational skills developed in the video lessons. In particular, playing familiar games with dice and cards, like Yahtzee and Blackjack and the analysis of their strategies can be enlightening.

This video textbook project has been funded by the University of Minnesota School of Mathematics and by grants from the University of Minnesota Libraries Partnership for Affordable Content. My thanks go out to the many people who have contributed to this project including Susan Tade, Jennifer Englund, Colin Marron, Hue Yang, Andrew Matthews, James Ondrey and Melissa Olson with the University of Minnesota’s Academic Technology Support Services for their assistance with the recording, animation and post-production of the videos; Robbie Hank, Shelley Kandola and other instructors who helped with the design of the Beamer slideshows that form the basis of the visual presentation; Stan Pride, Kevin Charles and others who have helped with other aspects of video editing to enhance the student experience; David Ernst for being the catalyst of the entire project by developing the Open Textbook Network and Kristi Jensen, Shane Nackerud and others with the University of Minnesota Libraries who have made this vision come to life in the final production stages.

Mike Weimerskirch
Director of Educational Innovation
Univ. of Minnesota Math Center for Educational Programs (MathCEP)


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Basic Probability Copyright © 2022 by Mike Weimerskirch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.