Intro to R for Biologists Course Offered Online

The National Center for Genome Analysis and Support (NCGAS) at Indiana University will offer their Introduction to R for Biologists Course online this semester. The course is designed for beginners in R, and will cover topics such as data types and how to manipulate them, basics of visualization in R, and reading and writing functions. Biological examples are used for the course, but the material is transferable to many domains.

The course will cover the following:

Participants will be directed to a pre-made Virtual Machine with RStudio installed and all necessary packages loaded. You are free to use your own installation of RStudio, however, we will not be troubleshooting individual installations as that is tremendously time consuming!

Course notes are available in pdf textbook format with links to video lectures on YouTube. These will be self-guided (asynchronous) sessions; they will not offer live zoom lectures. But instructors will be available during class times to answer questions, lead discussions, troubleshoot code, and expand on any topics of interest.

Labs are also available as textbook chapters. All answers to problems in the labs can be filled in on Canvas quizzes to get immediate feedback. The answers are also available in pdf. Instructors will assist with labs live every Thursday, but questions may be posted at any time. 

Instructor office hours will be held twice a week (Tues and Thurs afternoons) to answer questions on the lecture (Tues) and lab (Thurs) sections. The schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, March 31, 1pm-4pm EST:  Chapter 1 - Intro to R Language and Data Types (and getting started in the course)
Thursday, April 2, 1pm-4pm EST:  Chapter 2 - Lab I: DNA words
Tuesday, April 7, 1pm-4pm EST:   Chapter 3 - Intro to Graphing and Visualization in R
Thursday, April 9, 1pm-4pm EST:  Chapter 4 - Lab II: Metagenomic Analysis with PCA/PCoA
Tuesday, April 14, 1pm-4pm EST:  Chapter 5 - Intro to Reading and Writing Functions in R
Thursday, April 16, 1pm-4pm EST: Chapter 6 - Lab III: Writing a Sliding Window Analysis Function

NOTE: material is being updated, so access to the course will not start until March 31!

Participants will be free to work at their own pace, but we will focus on answering questions/running discussions for the course as per the schedule (i.e. if you get to Chapter 6 on March 31, we won't likely get to your questions as fast as we do for people who are still on Chapter 1). 

They have designed the course so as much as possible can be completed offline (using pdfs and your own RStudio install) or on public machines (using Canvas and VMs, without software installation) to help mitigate any access issues. 

More information and registration for the workshop can be found here:

Feel free to email any questions you may have!  

NCGAS is a management unit of the Research Technologies division of UITS; NCGAS is affiliated with the Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute.