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Simplify start of Data Structures episode #475
I recently taught some episodes from this lesson and wanted to share some feedback on the start of the Data Structures episode, which I found hard to navigate.
I appreciate and have seen that students want to get stuck in with recognisable data structures asap and therefore want to work with dataframes. So I can understand trying to entice them by showing a dataframe and getting them to feel comfortable reading and writing one in straight away.
However I feel this exercise, and the subsequent editing of the file, might introduce too much in one go, at a point where a lot of what's going on won't be touched on for some time. Admittedly, in the workshop I should have handled the direction of questions better which I'm sure would have helped, but I found it hard to tie up some of the confusion generated at this point.
Let me try and explain where I think some of the material may be setting up subtle confusion traps:
Luckily we were able to pull it back in the next section by switching to the data carpentry lesson and soon a lot of the stuff we had talked about started falling into place. Personally, I think the R for Reproducible Scientific Analysis lesson is great. I just think that particular episode could be simplified to run a bit smoother. Here are my suggestions:
Overall my suggestion is to reverse the focus from deconstructing a dataframe to building a dataframe.
I'd like to reiterate that the effectiveness of the particular session I taught could have definitely been improved by better handling of questions and avoiding too much deviation for the materials. My suggestions here are to further reduce the opportunity for deviation.
Let me know what you think