[R] re: GUI's for teaching

Emmanuel Paradis paradis at isem.univ-montp2.fr
Tue Jun 25 15:05:04 CEST 2002


Have you seen the tcltk package? I believe it is a better option than the
one you outline in your message. Why develop a Windows-only GUI? Maybe in a
few years your teaching department will give up Windows for Linux (for the
reasons you wrote about R: it is free, advanced, and adaptable). There is
an article in R News (vol.1, n°3) by Peter Dalgaard on the tcltk package,
and the latter includes a few nice examples. You need to install Tcl/Tk: it
is free and can run on many OSs.

BTW, are GUIs the best way to teach stats? I recommend newcomers to R to
save their command lines in a text file in order to able to source() them
later. Quite often you need to re-do an analysis, because you have new
data, you want to change a parameter, fit new models, ...

Emmanuel Paradis

At 17:31 25/06/02 +0800, you wrote:
>Dear All,
>This is a question to sound out possibilities.
>I am with the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the
>University of Western Australia, representing a few of the more
>statistically minded in the faculty. Essentially, there have been
>problems in the past with software support, changing over statistical
>software, and paying lots of money for it. In R you have an advanced
>statistical software package, it is free and it is adaptable. Also the
>maths department at UWA is using it on an informal basis and so support
>over the long term is available. The only reason why the faculty is not
>using R as a whole is because there is no GUI equivalent to
>Minitab/SPLUS/Genstat in R that can be used for undergraduate teaching
>purposes (unless I'm seriously mistaken). In RWindows there is the GUI,
>but it is not designed to carry statistical functions with buttons for
>options and this is what is needed for low statistical level undergrads.
>There is RWeb, but at this stage of development you wont find many
>takers in the faculty.
>What I want to know is this: can anyone give me a quote on what it will
>cost to develop a RWindows clone of the Minitab GUI. This GUI would
>support initially the simple six (EDA, probabilities and quantiles of
>distributions, t-tests,one-way anova, chi-square, and simple linear
>regression), and have the potential to develop into the next level of
>statistical analysis (glms, multivariate methods, time series and
>spatial - analytical problems common across our faculty). If the cost of
>development is comparable to present licence maintenance fees at FNAS
>then I think our small group can argue for its adoption. Not only that,
>the benefits to undergraduate teaching in other universities would be
>immense. If development costs are high then other faculties at other
>universities, where the software licencing arrangements are also
>troublesome, are also invited to participate in this potential project.
>I imagine this question has been discussed before, but I hope to have
>but an interesting turn to it.
>Rohan Sadler
>Ecosystems Research Group
>School of Plant Biology (Botany)
>Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
>+61 8 9380 7914
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