[R-sig-teaching] purpose of list

Mark Daniel Ward mdw at purdue.edu
Tue Jun 30 20:34:20 CEST 2009

Dear Graham,
    Actually, I love to communicate with the students by email, but I 
find it a nightmare when they email me any code!  Sometimes a 1-minute 
verbal explanation will take several paragraphs to clarify by email.
    I try to be available almost all of the time in my office, so that 
they can drop by with occasional questions, even outside of office 
hours.  I also use a once-per-week lab session to answer questions, and 
I've noticed that the students talk to each other during such labs..... 
and they frequently answer each other's questions, which is a blessing.

Graham Smith wrote:
> Hadley /Mark
> Mark Daniel Ward wrote:
>> I'll follow-up on Hadley's comment by noting that I always post the complete
>> R transcript of our class session, so that the students can download it and
>> use it.  I also add lots and lots of comments to the file (after class is
>> over), so that they can remember what we did in class.  They seem to like
>> this feature of my class.
>> hadley wickham wrote:
>>> This matches my experience in a course which I taught both Excel and
>>> R.  Most students preferred R because it was much harder to follow
>>> what I was doing in the GUI - where exactly was I clicking, was it a
>>> right or left click, etc.  With R you see everything I type and it's
>>> very easier to reproduce.  It's also much faster and easier to produce
>>> a page of commented R code that allows students to reproduce all the
>>> important steps, compared to recording a screencast to show the steps
>>> in Excel.
> I'm glad to see my experience isn't unique.
> I find the ability to email me a bit of code that isn't working a
> fanatastic feature for me. It has always been a nightmare trying to
> diagnose via email what some one is doing wrong with Minitab/Excel.
> Graham
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