Module 1: Logistics


Module 1 is mainly logistical. It aims to familiarize you with the course and Module format as well as get you up and running in R and RStudio. It will also introduce some useful coding best practices that you can (and should!) implement as we move forward.


  • Review the Course Syllabus
  • Enroll in a weekly section
  • Complete the course Survey and Pre-Assessment
  • Install R, RStudio, and LaTex onto your computer
  • Become familiar with the RStudio layout
  • Learn some basic operations in R and RStudio via practice questions

Course introduction

If you did not / could not attend our first Zoom meeting on Tuesday 1/12, go to the course Canvas page to download the Syllabus and access a video recording of our first meeting. The Syllabus is located at the “Files/Syllabus” section of the Canvas site. Shortly after our first Zoom meeting on Tuesday, I will upload a video recording of the meeting to “Files/Video.” Read the Syllabus carefully and watch the video.

Weekly sections

Starting next week (Week 2), you will attend a weekly, 40-minute section. These sections will meet in lieu of our regularly scheduled lectures. See the Syllabus for section times.

Before proceeding below, send an email to me with a list of three section times that you can attend. You may rank the times by preference. I will reply with your assigned section time by the end of the first week. You should then log onto Zoom at your assigned time starting in Week 2.

Course survey and pre-assessment

Now complete the Course Survey and Pre-assessment, which you can find here. Answer the questions as best as you can and without referring to any sources. If you don’t know an answer, just leave it blank.

Rest assured that the pre-assessment is not graded! It simply helps me to adjust the course somewhat according to your prior knowledge, skills and expressed aims.

Install R, RStudio, and LaTex

Now install R, RStudio, and LaTex onto your personal computer. Installation instructions are available at the “Files” section of the course Canvas site. If you are unable to install these applications after carefully reading the instructions, I will be available during our regularly scheduled lecture on Thursday 1/14 to help you troubleshoot installation issues. Please attend.

Getting started in R, RStudio, and Markdown

Once you are up and running in R and RStudio, watch the “Intro. to R” video below.

Now open RStudio and watch the brief “R Demonstration” video below, which will familiarize you with RStudio’s layout. Feel follow along with the video in RStudio, pausing and restarting the video as necessary.

Now go to the course Canvas page. Download the Markdown (RMD) file entitled “module 1 practice questions.” It is located at “Files/Practice Questions.” Open the file, read the instructions, and then work your way through it. When you have completed it, try to “knit” it to PDF. Examine the result.

Note that if the document does not knit, your file likely contains missing or broken code. Review your RMD file – particularly code chunks – for completeness and accuracy and try again. If it still does not work, try to identify the likely culprit and then seek help on that portion via Piazza.

Once you have completed the Practice Questions, read “Coding and Good Computing Practices” by Nagler (1995). Did you find yourself naturally implementing any of the author’s suggested practices as you completed the Module 1 Practice Questions? Which ones? Are there practices that you did not implement but which you believe will be useful going forward? (You might revise your Practice Questions RMD file and implement some of them if you have time.)

That is all for this first Module. Be sure to review the Objectives at the top of this post. This section will serve as a sort of checklist and thus help to ensure that you have grasped the material and completed any deliverables.