[R] R for a stats intro for undergrads in the US?

Spencer Graves spencer.graves at structuremonitoring.com
Sun Nov 17 17:04:24 CET 2013

Hi, John:  Thanks very much.  That sounds like pretty close to what my 
friend needs -- especially the comparison of Rcmdr with SPSS.  (My 
friend teaches at Santa Clara University, a private university supported 
by the Catholic Church located in Santa Clara, California.  I don't 
know, but I'd guess that their freshmen tend to be more advanced than 
those at community colleges or public universities that don't stress 
research like the University of California or McMaster.)  Spencer

On 11/17/2013 6:53 AM, John Fox wrote:
> Dear Spencer,
> I regularly use R (via the R Commander) for intro stats courses taught to
> third-year sociology undergrads (in Canada). Without knowing where your
> friend teaches, it's hard to know what her students are like, but in my
> experience psychology students are generally more numerate than sociology
> students, and first-year students would likely have a bit more trouble with
> the course than third-year students. That your friend's department teaches
> this course in the first year suggests that it, and possibly its students,
> have a quantitative orientation.
> I've also used a variety of statistical software to teach intro stats,
> including SPSS. I originally wrote the Rcmdr package so that I could use R
> instead, and I find that students have no more trouble pointing and clicking
> in the R Commander than they do in SPSS. It's also my experience that
> computing, regardless of the software that I've used, is the least
> problematic part of the course. It's much harder for students to understand
> statistical concepts, and even to apply simple formulas correctly, than to
> use menu-driven statistical software.
> If you'd like to take a look at the course website for my undergrad class
> the last time I taught it in 2011-2012, it's at
> <http://socserv.socsci.mcmaster.ca/jfox/Courses/soc3h6/index.html>. I'm
> currently teaching essentially the same course, but for grad students in an
> accelerated one-semester format, and that's at
> <http://socserv.socsci.mcmaster.ca/jfox/Courses/soc6z3/index.html>. You'll
> notice that in the grad class, students use their own computers, while in
> the undergrad class, they use a computer lab. That decision relates more to
> the size of the class (about 200 undergrads divided into four labs, 10 grad
> students) than to the level of the students.
> I hope this helps,
>   John
> -----------------------------------------------
> John Fox, Professor
> McMaster University
> Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
> http://socserv.socsci.mcmaster.ca/jfox/
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: r-help-bounces at r-project.org [mailto:r-help-bounces at r-
>> project.org] On Behalf Of Spencer Graves
>> Sent: Saturday, November 16, 2013 9:19 PM
>> To: R list
>> Subject: [R] R for a stats intro for undergrads in the US?
>> Hello, All:
>>         Would anyone recommend R for an introductory statistics class
>> for
>> freshman psychology students in the US?  If yes, might there be any
>> notes for such available?
>>         I just checked r-projects.org and CRAN contributed documentation
>> and found nothing.
>>         I have a friend who teaches such a class, and wondered if R
>> might
>> be suitable.  The alternative is SPSS at $406 per student.
>>         Thanks,
>>         Spencer
>> ______________________________________________
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>> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-
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>> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

Spencer Graves, PE, PhD
President and Chief Technology Officer
Structure Inspection and Monitoring, Inc.
751 Emerson Ct.
San José, CA 95126
ph:  408-655-4567
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