[R] Teaching R - In front of the computer?

Uwe Ligges ligges at statistik.uni-dortmund.de
Mon Sep 19 16:14:57 CEST 2005

Rau, Roland wrote:

> Dear R-Users,
> given you have been teaching R to students (grad level, mainly social
> science background, no previous programming experience, 80% know SPSS),
> what are your experiences concerning the style of teaching? Do you
> prefer to stand in front of the class like in "normal" lectures and you
> show them slides? Or do you you explain some concept (for example things
> like mydata[order(var1, var2),]) and show it directly on the computer
> via beamer/projector and also the students have to enter it on the
> computers in front of them.
> Any experiences you can share are highly appreciated.

I like to teach using a projector and people sitting in front of other 
machines beeing able to try out some of the nonsense I am telling.
Of course, they need more exercises than just the few minutes in between 
my sentences.
I am always noth using slides and showing the examples in R directly.

For all other stuff, it is the same as with other courses and lectures.

If this is a one-week course, I'd like to propose 1.5 hours course + 1.5 
hours exercise in the morning and the same again in the afternoon. If 
this is a whole-term course, you may be able to let people do homework, 
but always talk about their "results" and show them hoe to do it in a 
good fashion.

Unfortunately, for courses with lots of poeple (say 90, for the 
first-years' R course I am teaching) it is impossible that people are 
sitting in front of a computer for some reasons: not enough machines, no 
big rooms, and too much noise caused by both machines and people.

The really important fact from my point of view:
Give people many *exercises* and the *time* to work on these exercises. 
Expect that people without any programming experience will be much 
slower than you imagine in your worst nightmares. ;-)

Uwe Ligges

> Thanks,
> Roland
> +++++
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