R……rrrrrr

After last week’s wonderful get together, one with Anne and another with a Moroccan friend on Saturday, the rest of the week was spent in figuring out R. Yes, this is the new statistical software used for data analysis – SPSS is out and SAS is on the brink of going out. They say STATA might stay for a bit but R is the next gen software everyone needs to know about.

Well, being behind the times, I hadn’t heard about this till a few weeks back. The 2 year program students of my degree, had R classes all through Fall- since mine was an Accelerated program, it was thought that SAS would serve us well( not knowing can’t say, why).

Anyway, now I am in a course that is on public health surveillance. And the course only works with R and without any lab work. All R use is in the classroom, where we follow along with the tutor.

You can imagine how my life was after I returned from home in January. I did not even know how to open a file in R. Most of every class, after the lecture part, I spend trying to get R to run on my antique laptop. I haven’t used laptops much in my life as I always had access to desktops and sometimes with multiple screens. In the US, all teaching is done via laptops- I can understand why people panic when they misplace their laptops- their life is dependent on these machines.

Anyway, last weekend we had to work on a homework using R and of course, I had no idea how to do it- doing R was bad enough, we were expected to analyse and critique our findings.

Of course, being who I am, I procrastinated, hoping the assignment would go away. It was due by Monday afternoon. Late Sunday, I had gotten through barely one third of the assignment.

And then I decided to call in the experts- working with other students was banned and we were allowed to send emails to the instructor or the research assistant for the class. ( Part 1)

19 thoughts on “R……rrrrrr

    1. Exactly- I want to chronicle important things in my student life for me to read them over later and perhaps laugh over my mishaps.
      Life teaches you so much BC and student life in another country, many times over.
      Thank you for reading. How is the weather there?
      Have you heard from Cobs?
      Susie

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      1. Cold oone day warm the next. This has been one crazy year even for Mississippi No…I think we have lost Cobs. It’s like she just stepped of the earth. I miss her terribly.

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      2. Its more than a year, I think- I googled her and wrote to a couple of people who had messages on her blog but no one replied- and I didn’t know her real name to google that- would you know it ?

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      1. Historically, a Luddite was someone in the 1800s who refused to accept how machines were taking over industries. Thus this person destroyed machines in order to stop progress. In a more casual sense it means someone who doesn’t know a lot about technology. Sorry to confuse.

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  1. I read in reverse chronology – hmm. So much for me with technology. When my friend started grad school in the Fall of 2017, she bemoaned learning “Blackboard” – she would often be working on it and it either crashed or was so incredibly slow that she had problems entering data, especially when taking a test. She said it was horrible – do you deal with “Blackboard” Susie?

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      1. It sounded like it was “mission control” for anything to do with school, getting assignments, handing in reports, taking quizzes. I was kind of in awe of that … what a difference since I’d been in school 40 years ago. She was returning to university 40 years later as well.

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      2. Yes, something is lost when it is all via computer, isn’t it Susie? My friend Evelyn who went to grad school after an absence of 40 years away from college, could not believe how different school is today (neither could I from what she told me). She rarely had a normal class in a lecture hall – it was small study groups with other students, or watching lectures online by her professors or occasionally TED Talks and writing feedback for the latter two.

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      3. Same same here- all seem to be intent on managing the students and making sure work is easy for students – I mean, I just spent an entire semester on doing a supposed practicum in environmental health and climate change with the only output being literature review and the conclusion of the literature review- race is all pervasive and race is the cause of most societal ills including climate change. They all knew that well before we started, then why didn’t they tell us, that all we would accomplish was reading literature- why didn’t we do something for the people affected by climate change due to their race? Everyone wants to do desk research.

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      4. I agree with you – it is almost as if you are doing “busy work” and nothing more meaningful. You will get your degree, i.e. a paper degree and that will be it … the learning experience was nothing like you anticipated (kind of like the Winter). P.S. – if you have not read this, the weather all across the U.S. has been very strange and unusual and one of the warmest Winters on record. Last Thursday/Friday/Saturday it was brutally cold once again and today we have above-average temperatures. Nothing good is going to come from this Winter weather – that is for sure.

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