[R] Input appreciated: R teaching idea + a way to improve R-wiki

Philippe Grosjean phgrosjean at sciviews.org
Tue Oct 23 11:04:15 CEST 2007

Hi Matt,

The R-Wiki is actively maintained... the addition of material to it is 
up to R users with any kind of initiative like this being warmly 
welcome. As for Bill Venable's comment, I totally agree: you should 
better test your concept first, and be ready to have very poor, as well 
as probably some excellent documents. I think it should be wise to 
announce to your students that "the best documents will be posted to the 
R wiki", so that you may place a filter somewhere.

As for the format, PDF is interesting as the student could learn Sweave 
too. However, the R Wiki allows for further corrections and additions to 
the documents. For the possible section in the Wiki, may be, a dedicated 
section like "Users' guide (written by users)" could be created, and 
then, you will organize material inside as you like. Otherwise, the 
existing "Guides" section should be fine (feel free to create 

I tend to give a lot of attention to documents written by "beginners", 
because they are the best people to tell what is difficult and what is 
not in R! It is the starting motivation for the R Wiki, indeed.

If you like, it is possible to install the R Wiki engine on a local 
server in your Intranet. Then, students work on your Intranet Wiki, and 
you transfer to the public R Wiki the best pages as and when you like. 
You just need a web server with PHP. I can provide help to install the 
wiki engine on your machine, if you like that idea.

Philippe Grosjean

  ) ) ) ) )
( ( ( ( (    Prof. Philippe Grosjean
  ) ) ) ) )
( ( ( ( (    Numerical Ecology of Aquatic Systems
  ) ) ) ) )   Mons-Hainaut University, Belgium
( ( ( ( (

Matthew Keller wrote:
> I appreciate the input. Off-list, someone suggested that I set up a
> class wiki, and have this be the first sieve. I could do some quality
> control there first (perhaps sending the link to this list serve at
> the end of the semester for others to check over), and then post the
> final manuals on the R wiki. I think its a good idea and am mulling
> it, but part of me asks: why not just post the (perhaps imperfect)
> manuals on the wiki and allow the wiki to do what wikis are supposed
> to do?
> I guess I resonated with Ricardo Pietrobon's point: the essence of a
> wiki is that it is evolving and self-correcting. Even to get something
> started over there would be an improvement. If people wait until they
> are 100% certain that everything is 100% accurate, a much diminished
> pool of people would post... The accuracy of wikis improves as more
> people post. In other words, I think that it is the number of posters,
> and not necessarily the signal:noise ratio, that drives wiki
> accuracy...
> Matt

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