I’m now into my second full semester of teaching with
R, and had an exchange via GitHub Issues with @jennybryan that I wanted to bring over here. Not trying to criticize any one package or developer here - my comments are inspired by a number of different recent experiences with various packages.
Specifically, there have been either bugs in packages, slight differences in Windows vs macOS (I am on macOS but teach in a Windows lab), or an update had taken place between when I had installed and when my students install the packages that changed an important function, broke a process, or changed how output looks.
Bugs are obviously going to happen, and I therefore think modeling for students how these issues crop up - and how to respond to them - is an important part of teaching open source software. That said, I’m wondering how folks stay on top of developments the packages they teach with, and if folks have routines for testing software before teaching?