Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

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Session Overview
5A - Teaching R and R in Teaching
Thursday, 08/July/2021:
1:45am - 3:15am

Session Chair: Karthik Raman
Zoom Host: Adrian Maga
Replacement Zoom Host: Jyoti Bhogal
Virtual location: The Lounge #talk_teaching

Session Topics:
Teaching R/R in Teaching

Session Sponsor: Appsilon Session Slides

1:45am - 2:05am
ID: 149 / ses-05-A: 1
Regular Talk
Topics: Teaching R/R in Teaching
Keywords: ecology

Developing a datasets based R package to teach environmental data science

Allison Horst1, Julien Brun2

1UC Santa Barbara; 2NCEAS

There are many openly available environmental datasets out there. However, it is time and energy consuming for teachers to identify, explore and clean complex datasets for use in environmental data science classes. As the success (>60k downloads) of the recent palmerpenguins R package demonstrates, there is strong demand and interest in curated real-world datasets ready to be used “out of the box” for data science teaching purposes. In this project, our goal was to develop a sample dataset and an associated analytical example for every site of the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) network. This network, founded by the US National Science Foundation, is made of 30 sites where both observational and experimental environmental data sets are collected with a long-term perspective, and thus provide a treasure trove of interesting, real-world environmental data. All of those resources have been combined into one R package. R packages are an ideal vehicle for teaching datasets because R is widely used in environmental research communities and degree programs, and packages can be installed in one command. In addition, the R Markdown ecosystem provides a suite of tools to publish the documentation and examples as a website to expose all the pedagogic content to non-R users as well. We relied on the package structure to develop a reproducible workflow to ingest and document the LTER data. We also wanted to share the code necessary to access the full dataset to enable further investigation of more complex datasets. In this presentation, we will explain our process to design this R package and provide a set of analysis examples for environmental data science teaching purposes.

2:05am - 2:25am
ID: 248 / ses-05-A: 2
Regular Talk
Topics: Teaching R/R in Teaching
Keywords: community, outreach, rmarkdown

Using R as a Community Workbench for The Carpentries Lesson Infrastructure

Zhian N. Kamvar, François Michonneau

The Carpentries, United States of America

The Carpentries is a global community of volunteers that collaboratively develops and delivers lessons to build capacity in data and coding skills (in R and multiple other languages) to researchers worldwide. For the past five years, our collaboratively-developed lesson template ( has been the basis for our growing collection of peer-reviewed lesson content. This template was fully self-contained with all the tools and styles needed to create a full lesson website. While the lessons themselves were designed to be easy to author, there were two significant barriers in our toolchain for contributors: software installation and style updating. As our lesson repertoire and community has continued to grow, this template model has not scaled well, resulting in barriers to entry and wasted volunteer time. In 2020 we began the process to redesign our template from the ground up using a combination of R’s literate programming ecosystem and GitHub Workflows, resulting in three R packages called {sandpaper}, {pegboard}, and {varnish} for handling, validating, and styling lessons. The new approach separates the content from the tools and style, allowing for seamless updates so the maintainers can focus on authoring their lessons and not on the tools needed to build them. To accommodate the wide array of diverse skill sets in our community, we wanted to ensure the tools could be used by anyone without any prior knowledge of R. We will detail how we involved our community in iterated development of the new template with user stories, passive community feedback, community member interviews, and user experience testing. In the end, we will show how the wide array of tools available in the R ecosystem makes it easy for us to rebuild our lesson infrastructure in a way that significantly reduces the barrier for entry for our community volunteers.

2:25am - 2:45am
ID: 134 / ses-05-A: 3
Regular Talk
Topics: Teaching R/R in Teaching
Keywords: Bayesian analysis

Teaching and Learning Bayesian Statistics with {bayesrules}

Mine Dogucu1, Alicia A. Johnson2, Miles Ott3

1University of California, Irvine; 2Macalester College; 3Smith College

Bayesian statistics is becoming more popular in data science. Data scientists are often not trained in Bayesian statistics and if they are, it is usually part of their graduate training. During this talk, we will introduce an introductory course in Bayesian statistics for learners at the undergraduate level and comparably trained practitioners. We will share tools for teaching (and learning) the first course in Bayesian statistics, specifically the {bayesrules} package that accompanies the open-access Bayes Rules! An Introduction to Bayesian Modeling with R book. We will provide an outline of the curriculum and examples for novice learners and their instructors.

Link to package or code repository.

2:45am - 3:05am
ID: 246 / ses-05-A: 4
Regular Talk
Topics: Teaching R/R in Teaching
Keywords: textbook, open-source, non-profit, bookdown, continuous integration

Building and maintaining OpenIntro using the R ecosystem

Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel

Duke University, RStudio, United States of America

OpenIntro's ( mission is to make educational products that are free and transparent and that lower barriers to education. The products include textbooks (in print and online), supporting resources for instructors as well as for students. From day one, OpenIntro materials have been built using tools within the R ecosystem. In this talk we will discuss how the OpenIntro project has shaped and grown over the years, our process for developing and publishing open-source textbooks at the high school and college level, and our computing resources such as interactive R tutorials and R packages as well as labs in various languages. We will highlight recent workflows we have developed and lessons learned for converting books from LaTeX to bookdown and give an overview of our project organization and tooling for authoring, collaboration, and maintenance, much of which is built with R, R Markdown, Git, and GitHub. Finally, we will discuss opportunities for getting involved for educators and students contributing to the development of open-source educational resources under the OpenIntro umbrella and beyond.