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Johns Hopkins University

Mathematical Biostatistics Boot Camp 1

Johns Hopkins University via Coursera


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This class presents the fundamental probability and statistical concepts used in elementary data analysis. It will be taught at an introductory level for students with junior or senior college-level mathematical training including a working knowledge of calculus. A small amount of linear algebra and programming are useful for the class, but not required.


  • Introduction, Probability, Expectations, and Random Vectors
    • You are about to undergo an intense and demanding immersion into the world of mathematical biostatistics. Over the next few weeks, you will learn about probability, expectations, conditional probabilities, distributions, confidence intervals, bootstrapping, binomial proportions, and much more. Module 1 covers experiments, probability, variables, mass functions, density functions, cumulative distribution functions, expectations, variations, and vectors.
  • Conditional Probability, Bayes' Rule, Likelihood, Distributions, and Asymptotics
    • This module covers Conditional Probability, Bayes' Rule, Likelihood, Distributions, and Asymptotics. These are the most fundamental core concepts in mathematical biostatistics and statistics. After this module you should be able to recognize and be functional in these key concepts.
  • Confidence Intervals, Bootstrapping, and Plotting
    • This module covers Confidence Intervals, Bootstrapping, and Plotting. These are core concepts in mathematical biostatistics and statistics. After this module you should be able to recognize and be functional in these key concepts.
  • Binomial Proportions and Logs
    • This module covers Binomial Proportions and Logs. These are core concepts in mathematical biostatistics and statistics. After this module you should be able to recognize and be functional in these key concepts.

Taught by

Brian Caffo


3.5 rating, based on 17 Class Central reviews

4.4 rating at Coursera based on 491 ratings

Start your review of Mathematical Biostatistics Boot Camp 1

  • Matt
    I apologize in advance for how angry this course makes me. It is teaching like this that makes people believe that math is inherently difficult or that you have to have a certain mindset to do math. That simply isn't the case at all. I have a degree…
  • I took this course because I felt biostatistics would be interesting and useful for me as a biology student, struggled a little with the concepts but Prof Caffo did a good job of explaining and the exercises / assessments are very reflective of how well you know the material - makes it very easy to identify areas which need to be reviewed.

    Am looking forward for Biostatistics Boot Camp II to be offered at a time that fits my schedule so I can take the follow up to this course!
  • Anonymous
    Brian Caffo is a terrible lecturer, and I can say that with experience after completing MBB1 and still taking MBB2. As a result, these courses are very difficult to do, especially because I am learning statistics for the first time.

    He stumbles often, which makes it hard to follow him, but most infuriatingly, he goes off on tangents, and then I lose him.

    I often question whether I've learnt anything at all from these two courses. I definitely do not recommend Caffo as a lecturer nor recommend these courses if you are learning statistics for the first time; you will be lost!
  • HChan
    This class moves extremely quickly over the high level topics of statistics. It is focused on applications and there are very few derivations or intuitions. I would advise not attempting this as a first statistics class. Instead, if you are new to stats, learn statistics from a more comprehensive intro class (there are a large number of these available from various platforms like Udacity, Edx, and Coursera). This course is most helpful if you already have prior exposure to the basic concepts of statistics but want a quick refresher to bring yourself back up to speed. In the latter sense it can be quite helpful.
  • Based on module 1 (of 4) pros: - pretty well-explained despite quite complex subject matter - quiz 1 was reasonable in difficulty - ungraded practice homeworks - 3 attempts for quizzes (reduces exam stress a bit) - helpful CTAs Cons: - some lectur…
  • Anonymous
    I have taken graduate level biostats online through a traditional program and done well. Biostats is a difficult subject, so I thought the Biostatisical Bootcamp course would be a good review before I took further classes. In Bootcamp, there is a huge emphasis on calculus that I didn't anticipate. None of the course descriptions mentioned a need to know calculus. I am hampered at the moment by trying to learn the calculus required to complete the quizzes.
  • Anonymous
    I am currently a Sophomore in High School and with Coursera I have already taken two courses, Calculus 1 with Jim Fowler and Computer Science 101. I loved these two and finished with As. When it comes to this course, I felt it was horribly explained and Mr. Caffo provided no examples with these complicated topics and was disappointed at the lack of preparation, explanation and explicitness. Although I did like his course topics and felt it was well planned.
  • Anonymous
    I liked this course very much, because I was interested in the math behind bio-statistic. This course was challenging and I spent more than 8-12 hours a week to understand the material. I have done afterward a biostat-course in a masters programs, and I can tell the difference. Brain Caffo did an excellent job!
  • Anonymous
    This is a good course on basic statistics.

    Not much of the "bio-" part of biostatistics though. Sadly, it was my primary interest.

    People with statistical background may find it easy, but I would recommend it as an introductory course on statistics.
  • Anonymous
    This course is ok and will give you most of the basic tools you need but it's a very academic.

    It lacks a bit practical examples. It's mostly static powerpoint with voice-over more effort could have gone into making it more MOOC friendly.
  • Anonymous
    Good choice of topics covered, well done presentations, useful homework exercises, nice overview of the context in which the discussed methods can be applied. Very enjoyable!
  • Anonymous
    I believe this course is a great course for learn about statistics. However, I do not think that this course is good for beginners because in order to understand the material at a good level, I believe, one should have some former knowledge about probability and statistics. I would say this class is for you if you had learned about basic statistics at past and feel that your skills are somewhat rusty and you want to improve.
  • Santosh Goteti
  • Anonymous
    Clearly more than intermediate class which tends to mathematics statistics, but very well documented and presented materials by professor Caffo. Moreover, not usual exercises for careful students and in most of the examples was used R language.
  • Marta
  • Noah
  • Andile Skungwini

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