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More explanation of functions? [episode 1 or 2] #392

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mellertd opened this issue Aug 31, 2018 · 7 comments
Open

More explanation of functions? [episode 1 or 2] #392

mellertd opened this issue Aug 31, 2018 · 7 comments

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@mellertd
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@mellertd mellertd commented Aug 31, 2018

Reading through 1. Analyzing Patient Data and it seems like functions are kind of glossed over (there are hyperlinks to explanations), whereas variables get a lot of explanation with diagrams. It seems a little uneven, particularly since functions are passed to another function as arguments later in the lesson (where apply is discussed). Are learners experiencing any problems with the function concept?

Regardless, I think it might be a good idea to add a learning objective. Something like "Learn how to use functions to perform operations on data".

@katrinleinweber
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@katrinleinweber katrinleinweber commented Sep 1, 2018

Hello @mellertd and thanks for raising this topics :-)

I had considered your suggested learning objective as general to the entire lesson or even to the Carpentries. I'd be happy to review a PR with a specific wording suggestion. "Operations" could for example be confusing functions and operators. Also, "built-in functions" could be useful to distinguish those in 1. from the more specific objectives in 2. Creating Functions ;-)

Are learners experiencing any problems with the function concept?

I haven't heard such a question from learners, but I also have taught far less often than @diyadas or others.

Cheers!
Katrin

@diyadas
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@diyadas diyadas commented Sep 1, 2018

Hello!

I had not noticed particular difficulties with functions. If anything, I'd prefer a PR on episode 2, creating functions - it would indeed be a good way to reinforce episode 1. Something along the lines of

In episode 1, we learned about several of R's built-in functions, which can be applied to variables to perform distinct operations. What if you wanted to perform an operation (or several) for which R doesn't yet have a function? You can write your own functions in R. In this lesson, we'll learn how to write a function so that we can repeat several operations with a single command. This will be useful later for repeating our analysis of inflammation data on all 12 files.

would be a better opening paragraph than the current one. Wording could be improved :) The file to edit for this PR is located in the _episodes_rmd directory.

@diyadas diyadas changed the title More explanation of functions? More explanation of functions? [episode 1 or 2] Nov 16, 2018
@katrinleinweber
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@katrinleinweber katrinleinweber commented Apr 4, 2019

Hi @mellertd: Are you interested in starting the PR Diya suggested or should someone else do it?

@mellertd
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@mellertd mellertd commented Apr 4, 2019

Sorry this fell off my radar. I thought the wording looked pretty good in Diya's response. Totally swamped at the moment so if someone can take it, that would be great. Otherwise I'll get to it as soon as I can (and will set a reminder for myself!)

@ErinBecker ErinBecker added this to the June 2019 Release milestone May 9, 2019
@nelsonky
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@nelsonky nelsonky commented Jun 12, 2019

Still on Creating Functions, I think the first objective might be confusing to a novice from a non programming background. If one is told to define a function with such a background, it would imply to give the meaning of the word function and even the meaning may be different from what is expected herein. So I my view it is preferable to give an explicit definition of the word function as used in here, and mention that definition of function is actually creating a group of statements of code that perform some task.

@nelsonky
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@nelsonky nelsonky commented Jun 13, 2019

@katrinleinweber
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@katrinleinweber katrinleinweber commented Jun 14, 2019

Sure :-) I reviewed your PR #435.

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