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Practical modern statistics

The module introduces four major topics of modern applied statistics: medical statistics, time series, multivariate analysis, and Bayesian statistics. It’s ideal if you’ve already studied a general introductory statistics module and wish to broaden your knowledge of the field. The module emphasises underlying principles and practical applications rather than technical details. Use of a computer is an essential component – the module includes SPSS and WinBUGS software, which you’ll use to analyse data and develop your understanding of statistics. To study this module you should have a sound knowledge of basic mathematics as provided by the appropriate OU level 1 module, and statistical competence at the level developed by the appropriate OU level 2 study.

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OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
M249
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
30
Study level
2
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

Student Reviews

This module is broken into four blocks, entitled Medical Statistics, Time Series, Multivariate Analysis and Bayesian Analysis, each standing alone...
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The course is varied and falls clearly into separate sections. There is little overlap between medical statistics and time series...
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While the underlying principles of the topics taught in M249 are suitable for a level 2 OU module, the underlying...
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What you will study

The module begins with an Introduction to statistical modelling in which the statistical prerequisites are reviewed and the statistical software package SPSS is introduced. Then the four topics of the module are introduced in successive books, each with associated computer material.

Book 1 Medical statistics

The first book describes how to identify factors associated with disease, and includes topics such as cohort and case-control studies; investigating sources of bias; randomised trials; and meta-analysis.

Book 2 Time series

The next book covers methods for analysing data collected over time, and forecasting future values using exponential smoothing and ARIMA models.

Book 3 Multivariate analysis

discusses statistical methods for presenting and analysing data on several variables, with sections on principal component analysis and discrimination.

Book 4 Bayesian statistics

Book 4 introduces the Bayesian approach to statistics, in which expert knowledge can be incorporated into statistical models. This approach has become very popular in recent years, in part owing to the availability of special statistical software such as WinBUGS, which is used in this module.

Review unit

The final unit takes a look back at the module as a whole.

The module is illustrated with practical examples and real data sets from a range of subject areas, including epidemiology, economics, education, genetics, and environmental science. Numerous activities and exercises, also based on real data, are used to illustrate the methods and develop statistical modelling and critical assessment skills.

You will learn

Successful study of this module should improve your skills in analysing and interpreting data, communicating statistical ideas clearly and succinctly, and in using professional software.

Vocational relevance

Applied statisticians and data analysts directly use the content taught in this module – in medical statistics, forecasting, handing multiple outcome data and in updating expert knowledge with new observations. You’ll also develop skills in statistical computing using the packages SPSS and WinBUGS and more generally in data presentation and interpretation.

Professional recognition

This module may help you to gain membership of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA). For further information, see the IMA website.

This module may also help you to apply for the professional award of Graduate Statistician conferred by The Royal Statistical Society (RSS).

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module. 

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You can choose whether to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) on paper or online through the eTMA system. You may want to use the eTMA system for some of your assignments but submit on paper for others. This is entirely your choice.

Although your scores on the TMAs will not contribute directly to your final grade, you will need to successfully complete three of the four TMAs. You will be given more information when you begin the module.

Future availability

Practical modern statistics starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2021.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Essential Documents website.

    Course work includes:

    4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    Examination
    No residential school

    Course satisfaction survey

    See the satisfaction survey results for this course.


    Entry requirements

    You need no pre-requisites to study Practical modern statistics. However, we recommend that you have a good knowledge of introductory-level statistical ideas and methods and that you are familiar with the following mathematical topics:

    • mathematical notation
    • following short algebraic arguments
    • handling the logarithmic and exponential functions
    • using formulae

    We recommended you also have previous introductory-level statistical knowledge; we’ll include some revision of the following topics:

    • graphical and numerical data summaries
    • the basic statistical distributions
    • confidence intervals and significance tests
    • correlations and contingency tables

    Check you’re ready to study Practical modern statistics with our self-assessed quiz.

    Talk to an advisor if you’re still not sure if you’re ready.

    Preparatory work

    Essential mathematics 1 (MST124) is ideal preparation to reach the mathematical competence level we recommend for studying Practical modern statistics.

    Introducing statistics (M140) teaches many of the statistical ideas and methods we recommend you to be familiar with before starting Practical modern statistics.

    If you’re planning to study Analysing data (M248), take it before or alongside Practical modern statistics.

    You can download the first unit of Practical modern statistics before you register.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    06 Oct 2018 Jun 2019 £1464.00

    Registration closes 13/09/18 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser.


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 21/06/2018.

    What's included

    Module books, DVD-ROM, website, and online forums.

    You will need

    A calculator with basic mathematical functions (log, exp, etc.), but not necessarily with statistical functions.

    You require access to the internet at least once a week during the module to download some essential module resources and to keep up to date with module news.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided from a hardware device e.g. DVD drive or USB stick or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a desktop or laptop computer with Windows 7 or higher.

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying M249 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Overcoming barriers to study if you have a disability or health condition website.