[R] [O/T] undergrads and R

Richard M. Heiberger rmh at temple.edu
Tue Apr 25 04:31:30 CEST 2006

This semester for the first time I have been using the combination
of R, R Commander (John Fox's package providing a menu-driven
interface to R), and RExcel (Erich Neuwirth's package for interfacing
R with Excel).  The audience is the introductory Statistics class for Business
undergradutes.  The short summary is that I think the combination works well
for this audience.

I will be talking on my experience at the useR! conference in June.  I added
several additional menu items to Rcmdr for our group.  I sent the January
ones (prior to the beginning of the semester) to John Fox in January.
I will send another batch of menu items, those constructed during the semester,
as soon as the semester is complete.

The goal is to hide most of the programming from the students.  But not all
of it.  I think it is very important for any user of a menu system to
have at least a rudimentary idea of the programming steps behind the menu.
Rcmdr supports this goal since it functions by generating R language statements
from the menu selections and displaying the generated statements.
For example, I will casually change the cex or ylim of a generated plot
statement.  I post the script window (generated and edited statements) from
each class to the course website.  I do not post the output window.

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