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Technology lowering barriers: get started with R at the snap of a finger


Presented by:

Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel (Duke University) & Nicholas Horton (Amherst College)

Abstract

The GAISE College report stresses the importance of the use of technology in the introductory statistics course. In recent years, RStudio has become a common choice for many instructors given its power, flexibility, and price. The RStudio interface to R provides an easy to use and consistent interface on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, while new tools (such as the "Less Volume, More Creativity" approach that underlies the "mosaic" package) allow students to undertake analyses with minimal syntax. Most recently, cloud-based implementations of RStudio Server simplify access by only requiring a web-browser to connect, eliminating the need to install and set up software, hence minimizing cognitive burden when students first use R. This breakout session will focus on the use of an RStudio Server in the classroom and ways that this approach provides a consistent environment for all students, supports the use of reproducible analysis tools (R Markdown), and facilitates group projects. During the session we will describe why servers provide a simplified interface, steps needed to set up a server as well as potential issues. Participants will have the opportunity to access a specially deployed server during the breakout session to experience use of this environment as if they were themselves students.

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