Digital Scholarship Resources - Vanderbilt Libraries Digital Scholarship and Communications Office

DiSC R Lessons

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About the lessons

DiSC R lessons are provided by the Digital Scholarship and Communications Office (DiSC) of the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries at Vanderbilt University. The DiSC office provides regular lessons for R beginners with a variety of followup intermediate lessons. There is no cost associated with the lessons.

The beginners lessons are generally offered at least once per semester. See the schedule below for session details.

Each lesson includes of a series of videos with a practice scripts and homework assignments. The live working sessions provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions about the lesson videos and homework, or to work on the homework with assistance.

The lessons are part of a free, online learning system called CodeGraf. You are welcome to work through these lessons or any of the other lesson modules available in CodeGraf on your own at any time (no registration required). To explore all of the lesson modules that are available, visit the CodeGraf landing page.

The DiSC office also provides lessons for learning Python and getting started with GitHub in a similar format.

Archive of past lessons

Beginners Lessons - Spring 2023

Time: Wednesdays from 1:00-2:00 PM Central (US) Time (starting March 22).

Venue Synchronously on Zoom. Registration link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Zoom session.

Instructor: Steve Baskauf. Email to arrange a time to talk.

I will be presenting the lessons using RStudio in the cloud using the Posit Cloud platform. It behaves almost exactly like RStudio desktop but does not require any installation. Create an account at before the first lesson to save time, then go through the Posit Cloud quickstart lesson if you haven’t used RStudio before. It includes 8 minutes of videos.

You are welcome to use desktop RStudio if you already have it installed, but we will not be spending time going over the installation process. There are some installation videos that you are welcome to watch if you want to do an installation yourself. Stop on the page after the Installing Anaconda section.

If you have never programmed before, I recommend that you work through two optional lessons on your own: terminology (18 min) and programming environments (50 min). I will assume that you are familiar with the concepts and terms covered in these lessons as we work through the actual R lessons.

Working session date Lesson Topic Web pages (times are total video length)
Mar 22 1 Basics: Vectors and vectorized computing, packages lesson videos (45 min)
Mar 29 2 Lists and dataframes, tibbles lesson videos (40 min)
Apr 5 3 Missing data, basic stats, basic plots lesson videos (47 min)
Apr 12 4 Tidy Data and basic data wrangling lesson videos (31 min)
Apr 19 5 More data wrangling and piping lesson videos (46 min)

R Resources

Here’s a page of R resources that include a number of online lessons for R beginners.

O’Reilly for Higher Education books and videos (Vanderbilt sign-in required)

ggplot lessons

ICPSR data example

Bivariate tests example code - Requires installation of the MVN library lesson slides

Other sources of R resources on Vanderbilt’s campus

Data Science Institute (DSI)

Research IT

Digital Humanities (DH) Center

Software Carpentries

Co-sponsored by DiSC, Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Research IT, ACCRE, and the Data Science Institute


Questions? contact Steve Baskauf

Revised 2023-03-20

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License: CC BY 4.0.
Credit: "Vanderbilt Libraries Digital Scholarship and Communications -"