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

Francisco J. Zagmutt gerifalte28 at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 19 19:01:58 CEST 2005

Adding to Uwe's comment, in my experience is also useful to use a text 
editor that connects to R (i.e. in Windows you have Tinn-R, jgr, SciViews) 
so people can see the function arguments as they type.  People are 
accustomed to this feature from Excel so it helps them to fell more 
comfortable with the syntax.  And yes, some students used to the mainstream 
point-and-click software can be REALLY slow so you may want to plan for 

Good luck!


>From: Uwe Ligges <ligges at statistik.uni-dortmund.de>
>To: "Rau, Roland" <Rau at demogr.mpg.de>
>CC: r-help at stat.math.ethz.ch
>Subject: Re: [R] Teaching R - In front of the computer?
>Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 16:14:57 +0200
>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
> >
> > +++++
> > This mail has been sent through the MPI for Demographic 
> >
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