Setup and Software

Overview

The STAT 447 course aims to provide rigorous training in modern programming and data science methods. As in the past, we rely on best-of-breed tools. The two most important ones are RStudio Cloud and GitHub both of which require action by you to get set up. This page provides the details.

The first of these two tools is RStudio as the primary coding environment. The second is GitHub as a place for git repositories, “social coding” i.e. communication via issue tickets, pull request, markdown documentation and more.

Initially introduced for the Fall 2021 term, some changes have been made university-wide. Both of these changes work with the Single-Sign On (SSO) system. TODO: There may be more changes Fall 2021.

This page details the setup and highlights steps you have to take.

RStudio Cloud

Broadly speaking, the RStudio IDE can be used three ways: as a local installation on your computer, via the RStudio Server on a computer you can access, or via RStudio Cloud. The latter has a number of important advantages in terms ease of installation, keeping it current, resourcing and more that make is a great resource for a class. University of Illinois was participating in an earlier pilot, and we used the beta version of RStudio Cloud with great success as it offered (essentially unlimited) access for free.

Now, since early August 2020, RStudio Cloud is an official product, and unlimited hours are no longer available for free from RStudio. As part of the campus-wide use at University of Illinois, a package has been negotiated. For an one-time fee of $27.50 you get unlimited use (i.e. for all you course) for a period of five months covering the term plus some grace period until December 31. The use includes increased storage and memory settings, and the ability to scale to several cpus. TODO: These 2020 rates may change for 2021.

Action Items:

  1. To purchase the required RStudio Cloud / U of I token, visit the campus webstore at this URL.
    This provides your netid with access to the course resource.
  2. Use the link in the course welcome email (or from page 8 of lecture 1 slides) to request access to the RStudio Cloud course space.
    Do this only after you purchased the token.

Additional documentation is provided in this knowledge base article.

GitHub

In the past, the course has relied on students using personal logins at github.com, making coordination with netids more difficult and cumbersome. This year we are participating in a pilot project that is part of a planned wider rollout of U of Illinois-provided GitHub services (more info here).

There is one small catch. It is still a github.com service, and their terms include the sending of emails to you, the user, which in turn violates some federal guidelines. Long story short, in order to participate, each student must acknowledge having been made aware of the incoming emails from github. (Which, of course, you can turn off in settings once you are registered.)

(TODO: Unless we get a new process..) (TODO: Update email…) So to proceed you must send an an email with the following text to stat-430dspm@illinois.edu

I consent to the use of GitHub in the STAT 4447 Data Science Programming Methods class during the Fall 2021 semester and to the collection, use, and disclosure of my personal information as set forth in the GitHub, Inc. Privacy Policy at https://github.com/github/site-policy. I understand that I may configure my notifications settings in my profile to opt out of receiving marketing emails.

My netid is ‘….’ and I am using GitHub account ‘….’.

Here, your instructor would use as the last line My netid is ‘deddel’ and I am using GitHub account ‘eddelbuettel’. as those are the two corresponding accounts. Please fill in your netid and GitHub account. If you do not yet have a GitHub account, create one (maybe with your U of I email as contact).

Action Items: (TODO: Updated org, email alias)

  1. Please send the text above as email to stat-447@illinois.edu.
  2. Use a subject line [STAT447] [Github] Consent from '....' and list your netid once more in the Subject.
  3. Sign into GitHub using your netid and SSO
  4. Once logged in use this link to request access to the ‘students-fa20’ repo within the course organization ‘uofi-stat430’.

Sending us your netid and github account helps us to connect your netid with the GitHub account which we will need to add to the course repo(s).

Box

We will continue to use uofi.app.box.com for slides, course videos, and support files. We will generally provide direct links from this website. Access will require SSO via your netid.

You may need to create an account for this ‘box.com’ application if you have never used it before. No additional setup should be needed.

The content of the video folder is also synchronized with this ClassTranscribe playlist.

Mediaspace

Additionally, a channel was created at mediaspace.illinois.edu to provide an alternate access method. Access should also require SSO via your netid.

Compass2g

Compass2g will be used to view registrations / student roster, grades, and (generally weekly) group emails / announcements.

Discussion Forum

We will once again use GitHub issues in a dedicated repository. This a common practice in real-world projects. In the past, course staff has generally reacted within a few hours of each post, and we will again strive to provide timely follow-up.

We also strongly encourage direct student engagements. If you know how to answer a question of a fellow student, post the answer rather than just wait for the course staff to chime in.