[Rd] education task view

G. Jay Kerns gkerns at ysu.edu
Fri Jul 4 15:16:57 CEST 2008

Dear Achim,

On Fri, Jul 4, 2008 at 6:59 AM, Achim Zeileis
<Achim.Zeileis at wu-wien.ac.at> wrote:

> 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.

Yes, agreed.

>> 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).

Well said!  :-)

>> * 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
> addresses.

You are right.

>> * 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 "Education".
>> 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.

Thanks for your response, Achim.  I like the idea of a more focused -
and well defined - "teaching" task view, and wholeheartedly agree that
it would be and should be clearer to authors and readers what the view
is about.

I'll put something together, and try to incorporate other comments
that might surface.


G. Jay Kerns, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor / Statistics Coordinator
Department of Mathematics & Statistics
Youngstown State University
Youngstown, OH 44555-0002 USA
Office: 1035 Cushwa Hall
Phone: (330) 941-3310 Office (voice mail)
-3302 Department
-3170 FAX
E-mail: gkerns at ysu.edu

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