[R] style question: returning multiple arguments - structure orlist

Jonathan Baron baron at cattell.psych.upenn.edu
Sun Jul 29 15:55:23 CEST 2001

>From owner-r-help at stat.math.ethz.ch  Sun Jul 29 09:36:10 2001
>I too am troubled by the computer illiteracy of students
>these days.  As an experiment this summer I am having
>incoming students who don't know at least one computer
>language work through the book "Beginning Programming
>for Dummies" by Wallace Wang.

This sounds like a good book, but I want to make a pedagogical
point.  Although transfer of learning does occur, the last 100
years of research have tended to support the view that it is
incomplete and that it also works in both directions.  In my
youth, they tried to get me to learn Latin because it would "make
French easier."  (I refused, and learned German.)  The fact is
that learning French would make Latin easier, just as much as the
reverse.  Thus, if the target is S/R, teach S/R first.  It will
help students learn other languages just as much as the reverse.

Of course, the availability of good teaching materials is an
issue.  I plan to work on this in the fall, when I force the
students in our introductory graduate methods class to learn R,
both as a beginning cure for computer illiteracy and as a useful
tool in its own right - more useful for the average psychology
researcher, I think, than C or anything else.

Jonathan Baron, Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
Home page: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~baron
r-help mailing list -- Read http://www.ci.tuwien.ac.at/~hornik/R/R-FAQ.html
Send "info", "help", or "[un]subscribe"
(in the "body", not the subject !)  To: r-help-request at stat.math.ethz.ch

More information about the R-help mailing list