RStudio Instructor Training and Certification

This post describes how I studied and did the RStudio Instructor Training and Certification.

Teaching
RStudio
Communities
Translation
Author

Beatriz Milz

Published

June 8, 2022

Important

The RStudio Instructor Training and Certification program is currently on hold.

Introduction

In 2020, I did the RStudio Instructor Training and Certification. This post aims to describe how I did the training, possibly offer information, and help other people interested in undertaking this training.

RStudio offers the possibility to do the instructor certification on the packages tidyverse and shiny. All the necessary information is available on this site, but I will add some additional links here!

Important: I did the entire training process with Greg Wilson. However, he is no longer involved with it. I don’t know if any of the steps have changed. Here, I will describe the process when I did the training.

The importance of the R community

First of all: I would like to point out that the R community was essential for me to be able to take this training.

When I found out about the existence of this certification, I soon came across a difficulty in participating: on the website it said that it was necessary to pay (in dollars) to do the training.

For Brazilians, we know how the local currency is significantly devalued, making it difficult for many Brazilian people to participate. So I let it go until I saw a post by Yanina Saibene’s blog talking about her experience in the training and certification.

I talked to Yani (I met her in person at LatinR 2019) to find out more about what the training was like for her. She put me in touch with a group of people who are part of several chapters of R-Ladies in Latin America, who were starting to organize a study group (and support!) to do the training. In addition, she also gave me more information on how to make this financially possible.

We created a Slack channel for this study group, where we shared tips, exercise resolutions, and questions. In addition, we had weekly Zoom meetings to discuss chapters from the book R for Data Science (also available in Spanish this link).

The guidance from Yanina Saibene and the support from the study group were essential for me to prepare for the exams and to feel confident in taking them.

How to start the training process?

If you are interested in carrying out the training process, the first step to getting started is to read the available instructions on this page.

When filling out the form, carefully answer the two optional questions at the end of the form:

  • The first is about being part of underrepresented groups in data science; in this case, describe well which groups you are a part of and point out your contributions to the R community.

  • The second is about the reduction of the application fee (fee waiver) for people from developing countries (lower-income countries).

Training

The training I did was carried out online in two mornings, using Zoom. The focus of the training was not on programming in R, but on teaching! All the contents of the slides used are available here.

A lot of the content presented was similar to the training offered by The Carpentries and also the book Teach Tech Together (written by Greg Wilson).

Certification exam

After completing the training, the next step was to take the teaching and certification exam (in my case, it was about tidyverse). In this link it is possible to access an example of exams made available by RStudio for study.

There was no correct order to take the exams! Another critical point is that the exams happened with the shared screen, and I could use Google search. But the exam had a time limit, so it was essential to pay attention to the time spent searching!

Teaching exam

The teaching exam consisted of a 15-minute demonstration class and answering some questions about teaching.

I had to send the materials used in the demonstration class beforehand. The materials I prepared are available on this page: https://beatrizmilz.github.io/RStudio_Certification/ (and the code is also available in this GitHub repository.

I created a page for the material using the package distill (Allaire et al. 2021), the presentation with the package xaringan (Xie 2022), two exercises using the package learnr (Schloerke et al. 2021), the live code demo was using the RStudio IDE, and a concept map created with the tool CMap Tools. But these are the tools that I choose to use, and I recommend that you use whichever is most comfortable for you! The only mandatory tool to be used in this step is the RStudio IDE (which is easy to understand why…).

tidyverse exam

The tidyverse exam consisted of solving several exercises using R and tidyverse. The recommendation from RStudio is to read the book R for Data Science.

I don’t have much to say about this step; practice and use it as much as possible in your daily life and work, so you’ll have more experience and solve problems faster during the exam.

Approval!

After passing the exams, I received an email with a certificate, and they asked me for some information to add me to the list of certified trainers. The page containing my information can be accessed here, and the certificate received was this:

In addition, I got an invitation to participate in an RStudio Slack channel, where other people that did the training talk about topics related to the training, such as teaching, didactics, R, tidyverse, shiny, among others.

And I couldn’t miss the celebration either. Due to the pandemic, the meeting with friends was online. There was also a thank you tweet:

What about the language?

In my opinion, it is important to have some experience with English, because the training is live and in English. I don’t know if RStudio has plans to provide training in other languages (like The Carpentries, where there are already some training offerings in Spanish).

The exams that I did were applied by Greg Wilson and accompanied by Daniel Falbel (who is Brazilian and works at RStudio in the development of the Torch for R and is also one of the founding partners of Curso-R). Daniel’s participation made it possible for me to present the teaching demo entirely in Portuguese and be able to answer the exam questions in Portuguese. I want to record my thanks to Greg Wilson for presenting this possibility and Daniel Falbel for agreeing to be part of this process! It was essential for me to feel more relaxed during the exam, as I would have to worry less about the language and more about the content of the exams itself.

Conclusion

For me, doing this process was a rich experience where I learned and reflected on important content so that I could share more and more quality content about R. I wish that more people from the Latin American community could go through the training process.

Acknowledgements 💜

I’ve already made several acknowledgments throughout the text, but I want to highlight my gratitude to people who were fundamental to this process:

More useful materials

References

Allaire, JJ, Rich Iannone, Alison Presmanes Hill, and Yihui Xie. 2021. Distill: R Markdown Format for Scientific and Technical Writing. https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=distill.
Schloerke, Barret, JJ Allaire, Barbara Borges, and Garrick Aden-Buie. 2021. Learnr: Interactive Tutorials for r.
Xie, Yihui. 2022. Xaringan: Presentation Ninja. https://github.com/yihui/xaringan.