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

John Fox jfox at mcmaster.ca
Mon Sep 19 20:24:53 CEST 2005

Dear Roland,

I've taught the use of R to this kind of audience many times. Take a
look at
<http://socserv.socsci.mcmaster.ca/jfox/Courses/UCLA/index.html> for
materials used in such a workshop, and at
<http://socserv.socsci.mcmaster.ca/jfox/Teaching-with-R.pdf> for a
paper on teaching social statistics with R.

As others have suggested, using static slides is not a good idea, and
having at least a live display for the presenter is essential. It also
helps to have the students sitting at computers and able to try things
out for themselves. If this is a workshop devoted to R, I'd strongly
recommend this format.

On the other hand, if you're teaching R in the context of a more
general statistics course, you can cover the basics in a hands-on
workshop and then use the LCD projector to introduce new commands,
etc., during the course as they're needed. I find that once they've
acquired the basics, students are able to work more independently.

I hope this helps,

On Mon, 19 Sep 2005 15:25:14 +0200
 "Rau, Roland" <Rau at demogr.mpg.de> 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.
> Thanks,
> Roland
> +++++
> This mail has been sent through the MPI for Demographic
> Rese...{{dropped}}
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John Fox
Department of Sociology
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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