Practicing with R Notebook

rama.dasaratha
Feb 18, 2018 · 2 min read

Today, my son and I decided to give R notebook a try! So far, we like it. I like being able to practice in small chunks. Our first example involved data manipulation using the gapminder dataset that we used in the Tidyverse course. Here is our first notebook. While R Notebook appears to be a very useful tool, we are focusing on one use case — practicing R in a systematic and consistent way.


Designing R Notebook Practice

In an earlier article, I had described our use of Plectica for creating custom-designed cheat sheets. I changed some elements of our Plectica map to create a practice exercise. Using Plectica to develop fluency at a conceptual level, and then transferring the same map into a practice exercise can further enhance fluency.

Chunking in R Notebook

Our approach focuses on aligning cards in Plectica with chunks in R Notebook. For example, the R Notebook chunk for filter shown below, corresponds to a card in Plectica.

Map, Activate, Check

We use the Map, Activate, Check (MAC) process to design effective learning experiences.

Map it!

We create a learning map using Plectica. As discussed above, the map is then modified to create a practice map.

Activate it!

We have systematic activities for using the maps. We are now integrating R Notebook as an integral part of this process.

Check it!

The chunking in R Notebook is useful for quickly checking skills as they are learned. By practicing in small chunks, it is easier to spot and correct errors.


We plan to integrate R Notebook with Plectica in our daily practice. I am thinking about the use of R Notebook in my graduate class in the Fall.

Data Analytics and Coding

Investigating R and Python

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