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Free Coursera/Princeton online Statistics course starts this week

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Dolphin, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. user9876

    user9876 Senior Member

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    R is an open source version of S or S Plus but I'm not sure its by the same developers. I think it will become increasingly important as there is a lot of work to integrate it into Hadoop which is an alternative version of a database which handles massive data sets.
     
  2. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    Woohoo, just finished watching the lectures and doing the quiz for the first week.

    The lectures were pretty easy, nicely broken into 10-15 minute chunks, and each with a clear and concrete example making them easy to follow and remember.

    Using the R software was a bit difficult ... and for some reason just installing the file was harder than learning how to use it. I blame brain fog :p

    The worst part was the quiz, which implied that multi-part answers were required for some questions, but really just wanted the very last part. It would say "make a vector and blah blah blah", but didn't want us to input the vector into the answer box, just the part after "And then what would you type to do this final bit?" Looks like that drove everyone batty, so it wasn't just my ME brain :thumbsup:
     
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  3. physicsstudent13

    physicsstudent13 Senior Member

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    people at Princeton aren't very generous :)
     
  4. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member

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    What are the differences? Do people use SPSS because they are simply more familiar with it? Some people say that SPSS is easier to use for common stuff, using spreadsheet like data structures, whereas R is more powerful but more difficult. Would you agree?
     
  5. Simon

    Simon

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    Main difference is R is free and open source, but harder-to-use due to clunky command-line interface.
    As to more powerful, I am in no position to judge myself as I have only used R. However, according to Andrew Conway, the psychology prof taking the course who formerly used the likes of SPSS, they are much the same in power/capabilities, wtih the exception that R has potential for cooler (output) graphics (if you know what you are doing), like this graph of facebook interactions:

    [​IMG]

    Also, new techniques eg machine code learning are likely to be available on R before commercial packages because R is progammeable so new techniques can be added. The code for these new functions, once checked, are then made available as add-ons to anyone.
     
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  6. Graham

    Graham Senior Moment

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    Yes, as Simon says it is R. The steep learning curve is largely when you know what you want the software to do (shall we say swap rows with columns), but have no idea what instruction to use, have no idea what the technical term is for it, so really struggle to find it. Then when you find the command, it is easy to use.
     
  7. Bob

    Bob

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    I still can't automatically add up a row of numbers in Excell :(
     
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  8. Bob

    Bob

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    I've just been looking at the edx.org website which offers free online courses from Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley.
    I came across a course called Fundamentals of Clinical Trials, and thought I'd flag it up, in case it piques anyone's interest. (The course started on 14 Oct 2013, and I don't know how that affects enrolment.)
    It does require some previous stats knowledge: "Prerequisites: Background in biostatistics and epidemiology equivalent to the content of PH207X." ('PH207X' refers to an old course which can be found here. This isn't a current course, so I don't think it can be enrolled upon currently.)


    Prerequisite PH207x:
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  9. Battery Muncher

    Battery Muncher Senior Member

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    This looks fantastic, and I'm thinking of doing this next year (circumstances - and health! - permitting). We could really use more people with statistical knowledge!

    How is this year's cohort getting on? Is the pace manageable? How helpful are the materials etc.? Do you feel you're getting much out of it?
     
  10. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    I did well for the first half, then had a couple weeks with a lot of appointments, events, and crashes. But I plan to get back into it (albeit not on the usual timeline) now that I'm doing better. It's important to remember that there's no need to keep pace with the course, since all materials (including quizzes) are available at any time, and there's no credit or anything for keeping up with the schedule anyhow.

    I've found it fairly helpful for understanding statistics presented in papers. It's mostly aimed at producing those statistical analyses, and requires learning a little bit of programming to do it. It will be immensely helpful if I ever want to perform statistical analyses for whatever reason, but the course is a lot more than is necessary if you just want to understand statistics.
     
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  11. physicsstudent13

    physicsstudent13 Senior Member

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    thanks very much! anyone have any success with improving brain fog?
     

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