Getting Started with STAT 480

Getting Started with STAT 480


When taking an online course, it is very important to understand how the course is organized, what is expected of you as a student, and what kinds of special materials might be included in the course. You need to make sure that you know how to use the course materials effectively so that you can take full advantage of the value that they bring to your learning experience. The primary purpose of this introductory set of materials is to introduce you to the course and the instructor, as well as some technical and administrative issues.

Every lesson in this course will contain an overview similar to this one. The lesson overview will highlight the learning objectives and outcomes of the lesson.


Upon completing this lesson, you should be able to do the following:

  • describe how the course is organized
  • state where to find more detailed information about the course, including contact information, course requirements, and course deadlines
  • identify links to special course materials
  • navigate a viewlet
  • open a SAS program within the SAS application on your computer
  • open data files for use with SAS programs
  • post a message and read others' messages on a lesson discussion board
  • complete an online mastery quiz

0.1 - Getting Started

0.1 - Getting Started

Learning Online - Orientation

The online learning orientation provides an overview of the expectations and technology that is required to be a successful online learner.

Help Resources

If you need technical assistance please use the resources on this page (linked).

0.2 - Getting Started with SAS

0.2 - Getting Started with SAS

SAS® Instructions

Obtaining a Copy of SAS

Visit the Statistical Software page on the Penn State Department of Statistics website page to view the information on how to obtain a copy of SAS

Setting up your copy of SAS

Now that you have obtained your copy of SAS, what do you need to do next?

If you acquire SAS 9.4 from Software @ Penn State, you will need to do a few things to get it ready for this class.

Install the Software

The SAS software is offered as a downloaded .exe file.  Plan on this taking several hours to complete.  You are going to be setting up a "Software Depot" and then installing SAS from there.  In most cases, the defaults offered during installation are going to be your best choice.

Declaring your Default Program

There are now two versions of SAS on your computer, Enterprise Guide and SAS 9.4.  You should go to your Default Programs Control Panel in Windows and set SAS 9.4 as the default for the .sas extension.  Enterprise Guide, which was the default takes control away from you, the programmer, and will not work for the purposes of this course.

Turn off HTML Output

SAS 9.4 defaults to HTML output.  Again, this takes control away from you, the programmer.  Go into the Tools Menu in SAS and select Options>Preferences.  Select the Results Tab in the Preferences Window.  Uncheck the box that says "Create HTML".  Now check the box that says "Create listing".  You will also want to unselect the box for Using ODS Graphics.

That's it, you are done and ready to learn how to program in SAS.

0.3 - Special Course Materials

0.3 - Special Course Materials

Throughout the lesson pages, you will occasionally see links to special materials. The purpose of the special materials is to display examples, "walk you through" something, or provide you with an additional explanation of the concepts covered in the lesson.

SAS Code

Throughout the course, you will encounter SAS code similar to the example below. By hovering over the icons In the upper right-hand corner you will have the option of copying ( ) the data to your clipboard or downloading ( ) to your computer.

Go ahead — give it a try!

DATA temp1;
  input subj 1-4 gender 6 height 8-9 weight 11-13;
1024 1 65 125
1167 1 68 140
1168 2 68 190
1201 2 72 190
1302 1 63 115

PROC PRINT data=temp1;
  title 'Output dataset: TEMP1';


Relevant datasets are occasionally linked within a lesson so that you can use them in an external SAS program. Data sets that are stored as text files have a ".txt" or ".dat" extension, while SAS data sets have a ".sas7bdat" extension. We'll mostly just want to save the data sets to a specific location on our computers so that we can use them within the SAS application.

save window for data location choice

If you want to download and save the data set to a specific location on your computer, click the link, and a dialog box will appear and allow you to save the text file to the location you choose on your computer.

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