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Fat Chance: Probability from the Ground Up

Harvard University via edX

3 Reviews 1259 students interested
  • Provider edX
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Self Paced
  • Language English
  • Certificate $49 Certificate Available
  • Effort 3-5 hours a week
  • Start Date
  • Duration 7 weeks long
  • Learn more about MOOCs

Taken this course? Share your experience with other students. Write review


Created specifically for those who are new to the study of probability, or for those who are seeking an approachable review of core concepts prior to enrolling in a college-level statistics course, Fat Chance prioritizes the development of a mathematical mode of thought over rote memorization of terms and formulae. Through highly visual lessons and guided practice, this course explores the quantitative reasoning behind probability and the cumulative nature of mathematics by tracing probability and statistics back to a foundation in the principles of counting.

In Modules 1 and 2, you will be introduced to basic counting skills that you will build upon throughout the course. In Module 3, you will apply those skills to simple problems in probability. In Modules 4 through 6, you will explore how those ideas and techniques can be adapted to answer a greater range of probability problems. Lastly, in Module 7, you will be introduced to statistics through the notion of expected value, variance, and the normal distribution. You will see how to use these ideas to approximate probabilities in situations where it is difficult to calculate their exact values.


1 Basic Counting
  • 1.1 Counting Numbers
  • 1.2 Large Numbers
  • 1.3 The Multiplication Principle
  • 1.4 More on the Multiplication Principle and Factorials
  • 1.5 The Subtraction Principle
2 Advanced Counting
  • 2.1 Counting Collections
  • 2.2 Binomial Coefficients
  • 2.3 Applications of Collections
  • 2.4 Multinomials
  • 2.5 Collections with Repetition
3 Basic Probability
  • 3.1 Flipping Coins
  • 3.2 Rolling Dice
  • 3.3 Playing Poker
  • 3.4 Distributions of Bridge Hands 
4 Expected Value
  • 4.1 Expected Value: Chuck-A-Luck
  • 4.2 Expected Value: Slot Machines
  • 4.3 Strategizing
5 Conditional Probability
  • 5.1 The Monty Hall Problem
  • 5.2 Conditional Probability: Set-Up and Examples
  • 5.3 Conditional Probability: Elections
6 Bernoulli Trials
  • 6.1 Bernoulli Trials
  • 6.2 The Gambler's Ruin
7 The Normal Distribution
  • 7.1 Games
  • 7.2 Games: Examples and Variance
  • 7.3 Iterating Games
  • 7.4 The Normal Distribution - Part 1
  • 7.5 The Normal Distribution - Part 2

Taught by

Benedict Gross, Joseph Harris and Emily Riehl

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Reviews for edX's Fat Chance: Probability from the Ground Up
4.7 Based on 3 reviews

  • 5 stars 67%
  • 4 star 33%
  • 3 star 0%
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  • 1
Karen C
5.0 a year ago
by Karen completed this course, spending 10 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I loved this course - it was at exactly the level I needed. I particularly iiked the "office hours" feature : a video for each Practice Exercise, giving a clear step-by-step explanation of how the problem was approached and solved. I have a lot of trouble with math, especially stats, so this was very encouraging.

FMI see my blog post at
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Kohei I
4.0 6 months ago
by Kohei completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
My goal for talking this course was to understand the intuition behind probability and statistics. Although I had an introductory course a few decades ago, my emphasis was on memorization and manipulation of formulas. So, I found this course very helpful, as it starts from the fundamental: counting numbers. Although the mathematical notations are kept to a minimum, the concepts build up quite fast. For example, the generalized form of the Monty Hall problem could be a rather advanced topic for beginners. Well, maybe not for students going to Harvard…

On the negative side, the pre…
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
5.0 8 months ago
Anonymous completed this course.
No word to say,it was just amazing,cool and mind blowing probability course ever!

I think each and every mathematics student should enroll in this course.

Thanks to edX and HX for bringing course like Fat Chance.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
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