[R] GUI's for teaching

Mike Prager mprager at ec.rr.com
Wed Jun 26 21:03:49 CEST 2002

At 6/25/2002 at 08:26 AM, Jonathan Baron wrote:
>The reference card is in the contributed documents section of CRAN and 
>below.  Students do use it.  But a GUI would make them happier (but not 
>enough for me to spend time trying to make one).

Yes, it is probably best for students' development if we don't spend too 
much time trying to make them happy, anyway. It used to be that the 
*students* tried to make the *instructor* happy.  However, the world has 

I agree with many that a GUI is problematic in several ways.  A time sink 
for programmers.  A difficulty for analysts who want to keep an audit 
trail.  A potentially divisive element in the community of R users.

A reference card would be great, and I'd love to see an *electronic* 
reference card that could be popped up easily without wading through many 
branches of a help system.  A big plus in such an electronic reference card 
would be room for the user's own notes.

Unless a GUI somehow records the steps of analysis that has been performed, 
it negates the value of a program as a teaching and learning tool.  How can 
one critique an analysis without knowing how it was performed?  This is the 
same problem one has in trying to debug an analysis done in a spreadsheet. 
With no source code for the mathematical manipulations, how can they be 
reviewed, unless one goes cell by cell by cell.....

Mike Prager
Beaufort, NC

r-help mailing list -- Read http://www.ci.tuwien.ac.at/~hornik/R/R-FAQ.html
Send "info", "help", or "[un]subscribe"
(in the "body", not the subject !)  To: r-help-request at stat.math.ethz.ch

More information about the R-help mailing list