Tech Talk: Frictionless onboarding to data science with RStudio Cloud

Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel (Duke University & RStudio)


With the rise of data science it has become increasingly clear that students want, expect, and need explicit training in this area of statistics. Additionally, recent curricular guidelines clearly state that working with data requires extensive computing skills and that statistics students should be fluent in accessing, manipulating, analyzing, and modeling with professional statistical analysis software. Much has been written in the statistics education literature about pedagogical tools and approaches to provide a practical computational foundation for students. However a common friction point for getting students (and faculty) started with computing is installation and setup. In this talk we introduce RStudio Cloud as a lightweight infrastructure solution to this problem. Circumventing the installation step early in the course by having students access R and RStudio in the cloud can minimize frustration and improve buy in. We share logistics of setting up a course in RStudio Cloud, discuss best practices, and provide an opportunity for the audience to experience the setup first hand. Additionally, we highlight a suite of ready to use resources for teaching an introduction to data science and statistical thinking course using R.