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

John Kane jrkrideau at yahoo.ca
Tue Oct 23 16:39:37 CEST 2007

--- hadley wickham <h.wickham at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 10/23/07, Philippe Grosjean
> <phgrosjean at sciviews.org> wrote:
> > 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
> > subdirectories).
> >
> > 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.
> But they are simultaneously the worst people to
> provide good advice.
> The wiki seems to be riddled with poor practice and
> "hacks" to get
> around misunderstandings of the way R works.

Then perhaps a before and after section might be
helpful.  Example of awful coding and the 'preferred'
approach, hopefully commented as to why it is better?

A real problem that I have encountered with ?help is
that the help is very good if you know a lot about R
in the first place.  If, like me, you're just learning
the basics often the help examples are terse enough or
include enough other odds and sods that it can take a
long time to figure out what is and what is not
essential to get a procedure to work.  

> Hadley
> -- 
> http://had.co.nz/
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