Sunday, April 13, 2014

Following open courseware

I love massive open online courses such as provided on Coursera and edX. So I enrolled in the Data Analysis for Genomics course on edX. I am not alone there as seen from this posting on FreshBiostats.

I was shocked when I took the Pre-Course R self-assessment, imagining this would be easy, click through some answers and done. But I read these questions "Use match() and indexing..." and "How would you use split() to...".  If I ever used match() and split() it must have been ages ago. Hat to use the help just to know what they did.
So, I am wondering how may other basic R functions I have forgotten. I remember searching for quite some time because I forgot ave(), must have forgotten that 3 or 4 times. Same for Reduce().
I am almost certain I have programmed the wheel once or twice, not knowing it is in a package sitting right in my computer. Hence even though boring, I find it a good thing to get down to basics again, but it would be nice to run these lectures at 1.5 speed.
Then the course suggests RStudio where my preference is Eclipse with StatET. It is probably good to be out of my comfort zone but I don't expect my taste to change. 
Finally, programs come in markup language (.Rmd files). I am curious to learn if they manage to make added value out of that. Let week 2 begin. 


  1. Thank you for the post! It is actually interesting to read about problem completely opposite to the one you have. Being well-equipped with R knowledge from statistical/economic background I really hoped to get some details on genome practical statistics, which are increasingly used in social sciences (see, e.g.

    But preview of necessary genomics definitions was so brief, I actually understood almost nothing! Now I get some beginning genetics textbooks and hope to refresh my school knowledge for a few weeks.

  2. I watch edX in 2X speed. The trick is to hit play, then click the YouTube button, then click the setting icon in the YouTube player to select 2X (or 1.5X) speed. To get double speed playback, you may need to switch to using the HTML5 player ( to set the preference.