edX: Explore Statistics with R – starts today

This arrived in my e-mail this morning:

Welcome to the course. We have been waiting for this day. You are over 35000 now, and that’s honestly more than we had hoped for!

Today, week one of the course is released at 0900 UTC. You can work with the week one material as long as you wish, but make sure you complete the ten Graded Questions before the deadline, September 22.

We understand that you have different reasons for taking the course and very different background knowledge. Our experience is that mixed groups add quality and fun to the learning experience, when students interact. You have knowledge and perspective that others can benefit from. Use our discussion forums!

Are you new to programming?

Please avoid getting stuck for a long time with one problem. Often very small details can stop and frustrate you.

-Work together with a friend or a colleague.

-Take a break and work with another problem for a while.

-Did you make a spelling mistake? A few classical errors:

X and x are not the same

Did you miss a ) or a [

Did you start in the middle of a sequence? Warning! Maybe you miss a variable that was created five lines up in the script, in the previous question?


Do you already have some R experience?

Be patient. Every week a new set of videos and activities is released.

  • September 9-15: Week 1: Get to know R
  • September 16-22: Week 2: Find life science data. Import and clean data in R.
  • September 23-29: Week 3: Statistics under the hood. Distributions and tests.
  • September 30 – October 6: Week 4: Non-parametric tests
  • October 7-13: Week 5: Visit the research frontier

Are you good at statistics already?

You need to learn R. Some videos are just statistics, no programming. This allows you to skip some videos and focus on R.


So if you’ve not seen my previous invitation, now is the opportunity to get some statistics and R knowledge at no cost to anything but your time.

Sign up at http://edx.org and find out what Michael Mann is missing!

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September 9, 2014 7:29 am

I got the same email. 🙂 A little startled – there’s over 35,000 people signed up. Really Massive for what I thought would be a rather specialist niche.

September 9, 2014 7:32 am

The email really made the Michael Mann reference???

Joseph Shaw
Reply to  Matt
September 9, 2014 5:46 pm

No. The email made no such reference. The comments below the tear line
were added by John A.

September 9, 2014 8:36 am

As a registrant to the course, I received the email from edX about the course starting.
I must get to work on the first section ASAP!!!

Reply to  John Whitman
September 9, 2014 8:59 am

Free is free.

Stephen Richards
September 9, 2014 11:25 am

I signed up but got no email and couldn’t find the first module on the site

Stephen Richards
September 9, 2014 11:40 am

John: Is this available only by Facebook ? I got a message to sign up to facebook but it appeared under a photo on the screen and I could move neither. Am I stupid? If so help an idiot today.

September 9, 2014 12:13 pm

Stephen Richards @September 9, 2014 at 11:25 am
Stephen Richards @September 9, 2014 at 11:40 am
– – – – – – – – – –
Stephen Richards,
As I recall, I joined edX by first signing up for an account with them. To start the setting up of an edX account I used the link to the edX website given in the WUWT post ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/08/24/learn-r-and-statistics-for-free-in-a-mooc-starting-september-9/ ). That did not involve me providing any Facebook account info, just my normal email info and postal address info.
And, as I recall, just having an edX account is just step 1. One still needs to register for courses at edX. As I recall, the next step after you get an edX account was to log in and then register for a course.
I did not involve FaceBook. I just get email notifications from edX to the email address I gave them to get an edX account.
Sorry that I do not have wisdom to help you with the FaceBook situation you have.

Stephen Richards
September 9, 2014 1:04 pm

John Thanks. I had done all those things but did not get the Email. However, I have now found the appropriate page and viewed the videos. I downloaded R several years ago when Steve Mc was recommending it but never got round to using it. Now I have downloaded the later version and although I have selected the English language it insists on giving me the french version. Now, whilst I speak and write french reasonably well (well enough to be a town councillor here for 6 yrs) the course is being given in french. I have tried to change the language on the R console it simply doesn’t work. I have now downloaded it 3 times and at 96k/s that’s not funny.
The facebook problem arose because of the page at Edx that I had found. That’s resolved, the language isn’t.

Stephen Richards
September 9, 2014 1:04 pm

The course in English of course !!!!!!

September 9, 2014 1:33 pm

quite excited about this. Thanks for the heads up.

September 9, 2014 1:36 pm

Johns Hopkins University has also some very good courses on R (and Data Analysis in general) through Coursera. Highly recommended.
Just for fun (more properly hilarity) I’d recommend also the course “Global Warming: The Science and Modeling of Climate Change” by David Archer (The University the Chicago), starting Sept 29. Of course, stay out of the forums, and / or hide your denialism, otherwise would break fun XDD

September 9, 2014 2:56 pm

Had to wait till 8pm to get mine (NZ time), so went to bed without opening anything. Now awakening refreshed, let’s get in to it

September 9, 2014 3:55 pm

Thanks, this and other EdX courses look good, and the one on CAGW is a joke, of course.

September 10, 2014 8:46 am

Just a word of caution: R might be very nice to work with, but to do real statistical analysis, you also need to learn the basic mathematical theory behind the statistical methods you use.
Otherwise you will end up as the Mann did, just fudging around until you get the result you want, without having the faintest idea what you are doing. And you don’t have a lot of friends in high places to smooth over your idiocies.

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