Instructors teaching the R language to beginners have many choices about what programming strategies they teach first. In this talk, I’ll make the argument that teaching data transformation and visualization with the dplyr, tidyr, and ggplot2 packages is a suitable first introduction to data analysis in R. Some advantages of this approach include that it produces useful results as early as possible, that it encourages productive habits around organization of data, and that it offers a consistent and memorable syntax. I’ll also describe how base R syntax can be taught within a course as it becomes useful for solving problems. I’ll also discuss potential pitfalls of the tidyverse-first approach, and what kinds of curricula it may be less suited for.
About the speaker
Data Scientist, Stack Overflow
In May 2015 I received my PhD in Quantitative and Computational Biology from Princeton University, where I worked with Professor John Storey. My interests include statistics, data analysis, genomics, education, and programming in R.