Class 01: Introduction

Learning Objectives

Each set of class notes will contain a list of learning objects. Here are the objectives for today.

  • Identify key elements of the course structure from the syllabus.
  • Inquire about any unclear points or potential concerns.
  • Install R and RStudio on your computer
  • Open, edit, and run an RMarkdown file

Course Description

This course broadly covers the entire process of collecting, cleaning, visualizing, modeling, and presenting datasets. It has a MATH designation but is not a mathematics course. The focus is on applied statistics and data analysis rather than a detailed study of symbolic mathematics.

By the end of the semester you will feel confident collecting, analyzing, and writing about datasets from a variety of fields. You will be able to use these skills to address data-driven problems in a wide range of application domains.

Setting up R

Download software

The first step is to download the R programming language. To do this go to and select your platform:

For macOS, just download R-3.5.2 (or whatever is the most recent):

For Windows, first select base

And then Download R 3.5.2

One you have the .pkg (macOS) or .exe (Windows) file, install this on your computer according to the default settings.


The files we just downloaded are the core R language files doing all the hard work of processing data. Next, we’ll install a helpful GUI frontend that make calling R easier.

Go to Click on Products => RStudio.

Scroll down to the DOWNLOAD RSTUDIO DESKTOP button and click on it.

Scroll down again to the Installers for Supported Platforms. The Windows link gives you an exe:

And the macOS link gives a dmg:

Now, install R or RStudio as you would any other program. It should link automatically to the version of R you just installed.

Prior Versions

I always leave course webpages open and available at the conclusion of the semester. You can easily find old versions of this course through my website. Feel free to peruse them, but note that I am making substantial changes from past iterations, so do not expect the material to line up or be consistent with our class this semester.