Projects and packages in R Studio Cloud


#1

I notice that each new project in R Studio Cloud requires packages to be installed anew.

What is a good recommendation for students using R Studio Cloud? Should I recommend that they use one project for a whole course, or separate ones eg. for each assignment (in the same way that they might have separate projects on their own computer if using the downloaded R Studio)?


#2

I'd recommend one project per assignment, but either approach would work. If you do go with one project per assignment, there are two techniques you can use to ensure that the students have the right set of packages when they start an assignment:

If you use a Space for the course, you can create a Base Project Template, and put the set of common packages into it. Then any project created in the space via the New Project button will get that set of packages.

Another technique is to create a project for each assignment and include any packages that you'd like the students to have for that assignment. Then have the students start their work by making a copy.

Take a look at the Cloud Guide (https://rstudio.cloud/learn/guide), in particular the section titled "Using Private Spaces in Courses and Workshops", for more details on both these methods.


#3

thanks (again), Robby!

I'm thinking that a Space for the course might be the way to go. I'll certainly look through the Cloud Guide and figure out what seems to be a sensible method.


#4

Thank you, I'm also struggling with the same issue. Should the "base project template" simply list the code to install the packages? Can we do this retroactively (since the projects are already been created and added to the workspace, but students have not accessed them yet).


#5

Any packages you install in the base project template will also be installed in any new project your create via the New Project button in the space. It is not retroactive i.e. if you add packages/files to the base template, those will be included in any new projects created, but not in ones already created.

If your plan is to create "assignment" projects, and have the students make copies of those, the base project template does not come into play - any packages installed in the assignment project (and any other files) will be included when the student makes a copy of the assignment. This is also not retroactive, i.e. whatever packages/files are in the original project at the time the student makes the copy are included - but packages/files added to the original project after the copy was made will not.