Where to Go from Here? Tips for Building Up R Experience

At the University of Utah, I teach the R lab that accompanies MATH 3070, “Applied Statistics I.”” None of my students are presumed to have any programming experience, and they never hesitate to remind me of that fact, especially when they are starting out. When I create assignments and pick problems, I often can write a one- or three-line solution in thirty seconds that students will sometimes spend four hours trying to solve. They then see my solution and slap their foreheads at its simplicity. I can be tricky with my solutions. For example, suppose you wish to find the sample proportion for a certain property. A common approach (or at least the one used in the textbook our course uses, Using R for Introductory Statistics by John Verzani) looks like this:

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From a Neighborhood to a Community

… change does not happen when no one takes ownership of the community.

I have written frequently about what is wrong about suburbs and where I grew up. My criticism of suburbs have centered on how they fail to create communities. Everyone in a suburb lives in their own self-contained universe that does not require interaction with the people around them. Even though they are large neighborhoods, they are hardly communities. This is at least how I, someone who is not LDS, perceive where I grew up. Perhaps it would be different if I was one of those people who walked to church every Sunday morning (considering that churches are only two or three blocks apart at most) and would worship with all my neighbors. Even then, though, the fact that I feel like I don’t have a connection with my community means that it has failed; a good community includes all of those who live in it, not just those who are LDS.

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My favorite part of the film Collector of Bedford Street was when the community banded together to help Larry. Larry, an intellectually challenged individual, was very depressed. He was surviving because of the support of his 80+ year-old uncle, who would not live forever. Larry knew that when his uncle passed on, he had no support. He could not make it on his own. He also did not want to be a burden, so one day he left his home and his community, running off with a homeless man, telling his neighbor Alice never to look for him and that now she was free from him.

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