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Abstract Details

Activity Number: 611
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Thursday, August 2, 2012 : 8:30 AM to 10:20 AM
Sponsor: Section on Statistical Education
Abstract - #306823
Title: Integrating R Into Introductory Statistics
Author(s): Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel*+ and Andrew Bray
Companies: Duke University and University of California at Los Angeles
Address: Department of Statistical Science, Durham, NC, 27708-0251, United States
Keywords: R ; introductory statistics ; education ; labs ; RStudio

In this talk we discuss approaches for effectively integrating R into an introductory statistics curriculum. In addition to being free and open-source, R is powerful, flexible, and it is relevant beyond the introductory statistics classroom unlike software designed specifically for courses at this level. The main obstacle to the adoption and use of R in an introductory setting is the perceived challenge of teaching programming in addition to teaching statistical concepts. Furthermore, working with a command line tends to be more intimidating to students than more traditional GUI based tools. Many of these challenges can be overcome with the right tools: a user-friendly IDE like RStudio, which is invaluable for resolving some of the initial hurdles novice students experience with the bare-bones R interface, and labs and activities that use the right balance of standard and custom functions. We will present examples from labs that have been developed with the goal of helping students synthesize concepts and apply them to real data as well as share student experiences and discuss approaches for preparing teaching assistants to lead these lab sessions.

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