[R] teaching R

Robert W. Baer, Ph.D. rbaer at atsu.edu
Wed Aug 26 15:59:33 CEST 2009

> Hello all,
> I am going to be running a small statistics workshop using R sometime
> in November.  I am restricted to R because of the specific libraries I
> will be using - a good thing in my book - however the attendees are
> unfamiliar with R.  I plan on giving as little R information as
> possible - just what is absolute necessary to run the statistics (the
> workshop is short, no time to spend hours teaching R).  Has anyone
> done anything like this?  Are there any public powerpoint/pdfs/etc.
> available for this type of application?
> Any advice / what works / what doesn't work is appreciated for those
> that have tried this before me.

R can be very intimidating to an audience that has very little experience 
with command line interfaces.  Unlike a menu driven system there are no 
"reminder clues", and it takes a little time to learn how to find help 
productively if you haven't lived in a command line world before.

If your goal is to focus on the "task at hand", my recommendation is to 
prepare a short 1-2 page handout that summarizes 1) how to get datasets from 
a standard format into a usable form for you application; 2) how to do each 
of the manipulations you will talk about; and 3) how to print/save the 
output (graphical and data) that you produce.  An optional 4th section, if 
appropriate, might summarize how to learn more if they pursue the 
application on their own (i.e., use of appropriate help facilities).

Your audience can then focus on the big picture of what you are talking 
about with a security blanket of being able to reproduce it later just as if 
they had a menu to help remind them of what you said.  It may still be a 
little bit of an up hill battle with an inexperienced audience.

> Sincerely,
> -Michael
> -- 
> Michael A. Nestrud
> Cornell U. Sensory Science PhD Student
> mike at ataraxis.org
> "All that you taste... all that you eat."
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