[Rd] education task view

Achim Zeileis Achim.Zeileis at wu-wien.ac.at
Fri Jul 4 12:59:51 CEST 2008


thanks for your suggestion and for the effort you already put into this.

> I have had it in my mind for some time now that a Task View related to
> R and education might be a good thing.

When I read your subject line, I thought: Yes, good idea. But reading 
through your suggestions I realized that it might a bit difficult to 
define what should go in there and what not.

> What might an Education Task View look like?  Right off the top of my
> head, there seem to be at least the following four loose categories:
> * packages associated with a specific book/text/monograph (many of these...)

I don't think that this should be among the inclusion criteria because not 
all books are designed for teaching in a narrower sense (and all 
publications are designed for education in a wider sense).

> * packages specifically designed with education in mind (e.g.
> TeachingDemos, LearnBayes, epibasix, tutoR, schoolmath, ...)

This might be feasible.

> * packages perhaps not specifically designed for educ, but
> nevertheless are useful in the classroom (actuar, distr family,
> financial, hints, urn, ...)

It is unclear to me what this could mean. Almost every package might be 
"useful in the classroom" if you're teaching the topic that the package 

> * GUIs: selected GUIs that provide interfaces to common course
> topics/demos, or that professors might use to introduce students to R
> (Rcmdr, pmg, RWinEdt, rattle, SciViews,...).

This should also be feasible.

After reading through this, I think that the following might work:
Focus on directly teaching-related packages, especially for teaching basic 
stats, e.g., packages with demos, data, functions, or user interfaces 
(graphical or not) designed specifically for basic/introductory stats 
and/or use of R. "Teaching" might also be somewhat more focused than 

> With only a _cursory_ glance on CRAN I found 69 packages which, from
> their subject line, appeared to fall into one of the above.  You can
> see what I am talking about at
> http://www.cc.ysu.edu/~gjkerns/educationR.pdf
> At 70+, an education task view would fall in the upper 20% with
> respect to the number of packages, but it would not be the largest...
> nobody can beat "Multivariate". :-)

Note that the goal is to have focused task views not to have large task 
views. To be useful, it should be clear to authors and readers what the 
task view is about.

> If there is trouble finding volunteers, then you're looking (reading?) 
> at one.

Great, thanks! Please look at
   vignette("ctv-howto", package = "ctv")
(it's only two pages) and produce a Teaching.ctv. Then send it directly to 
me and I'll have another look and give you some feedback. Then, we can 
move it to CRAN and you can ask for further feedback on the mailing lists. 
If anybody wants to post ideas now, that's of course fine as well.


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