RStudio Instructor Training Groups

By Andy Murtha, Maria C Ramos, Phani Tata in R-Studio Instructor Training

The RStudio Instructor Training Groups are active participant study sessions that allow individuals to work through the teaching and content portions of the certification exams. The RStudio Instructor Certification consist of three parts; 1) Participation in the RStudio Instructor training course on teaching methods 2) Complete a teaching 90-minute teaching exam that includes preparing and delivering a 15-minute demonstration lesson 3) Complete a 90-minute practical examination for the subject that the desire to be certified in. Currently there are two instructor designations, a tidyverse certification (based on the book, R for Data Science) and a shiny certification (based on the book, Mastering Shiny).

Most participants in the study groups have at least completed the training course, which at this time has currently been put on hold. If anyone has already completed the training course, they are allowed to continue working through the rest of the certification process. Additionally, there is another organization called Data Carpentry that has their own instructor training program that you can sign up to participate in and obtain a “Carpentries Instructor Badge”.

There have been two instructor training groups that the MiR Community has hosted, one of which is currently ongoing. The group is diverse across many aspects. Participants come from different continents, industries, and fields of study. The group is also diverse with respect to race, gender, and stage in the certification process. This diversity has been beneficial as it has allowed us to get exposed to different views, knowledge and experience, datasets, applications, and teaching styles. The current group normally meets bi-weekly, and has changed their cadence as schedules change. The group is fairly flexible, and if most participants cannot join, they will reschedule to a following week.

In addition to the regularly scheduled meetings, the team has the ability to continue conversations on the r-studio-instructor-training slack channel within the MiR Community Slack page. There currently has not been a shiny focused study group, however if there is an interest by a number of members, feel free to chime in and create an additional group. Additionally, while we are happy to take on more members that are working through the tidyverse certification, if you would like to create your own cohort, feel free to do so.

The current cohort has a running Google Document that contains topics that have been presented, practice exams that have been covered, and links to any content generated by the group. Any meeting that were content focused usually had one member create content and a presentation regarding a topic for the certification (teaching concepts, tidyverse topics). This allows members to become more familiar with the topics covered in the practical examination, as well as allowing opportunities for presenting and practicing delivering content that would occur during the teaching exam. One of the coolest things with members presenting is that they provide tips and tricks that helped them to learn the topic(s), roadblocks and common pitfalls, mnemonic devices, and other resources they found relevant beyond the books as reference material. Each member tries to rotate throughout the group so that no one person is contributing every two weeks. Based on the current member group, the rotation to contribute is about every 2 months.

The groups provide friendly, safe environments where it is easy to ask questions, express opinions, and troubleshoot content. Furthermore, members have the flexibility to create RMarkdown documents, present interactively in the R console, or leverage the xaringan package to create sides. Members have also published their content to GitHub or Netlify to share on the internet. Additional content covered includes materials related to the instructor training course and sample exam questions published by RStudio.

Another benefit to participating with the study group is the ability to demo your teaching presentation prior to taking the teaching exam, and solicit feedback from the group. This also benefits the group as it allows other members to get different takes on content delivery, a safe, inclusive environment to present content and various approaches to teaching.

The current cohort has volunteered to stay on and continue to participate in training conversations, as well as post certification topics and shared resources for certified RStudio Instructors. Please feel free to join our current cohort, or band together with a new group of individuals and create a new cohort of your own!

Posted on:
January 25, 2022
4 minute read, 717 words
R-Studio Instructor Training
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