Twenty-five minutes of preparations helps us to have a flying start and quickly get to the fun part: learning R. Make sure to finish these preparations a week before the start of the masterclass, as that should give us sufficient time to fix foreseen and unforeseen issues. You’ll need to install the required software and introduce yourself on our Q&A platform, and learn how to get the most out of this masterclass.

1 Read the syllabus

Although our syllabus didn’t make it to the International Booker Prize shortlist, we know many other great texts that didn’t. Go read it, it will help you get the most out of the masterclass.

2 Install or update R

Please install the required software, R and RStudio, as it takes up precious time, things can go wrong (more precious time), and some computers might have restrictions (even more precious time). Let us know immediately if you come across any issues, and we’ll make sure to help you fix it in time. If it’s already installed, make sure you’re running the most recent versions.

Ready? Follow these instructions to setup R and RStudio. For now, skip the last part (installing the tidyverse package).

Let’s see if everything works as expected. First, run the following code in the console panel of RStudio (the (lower) left panel):


Here, print() is a called a function. A function takes an input, does its magic, and gives some output. The print function simply prints the input to your screen. So far the magic. But learning already!

Then, install and load a package. This way we make sure you have the right permissions. Again, run the following code in your console:


This may take a while, you’re basically downloading and installing additional software. Packages extend the basic functionality of R. That is, they provide lots of extra functions!

3 Install Zoom

This is only required for online masterclasses. Most of you have been using Zoom more than you ever desired. Didn’t use it before? Let us know!

4 Introduce yourself

You should have received a Piazza invitation on your VU email address (it might not work with a different one). Check your spam if you cannot find the invitation, or let us know if it is nowhere to be found.

Now, sign up to Piazza and introduce yourself. On Piazza, you should find the post that says “Introduce yourself” and follow the instructions.

You can also use the Piazza app, but it won’t be of much use if you want to copy-paste some R code in a question or answer.

5 Reserve time

Learning R requires you to practice. And you won’t be able to finish all exercises during the masterclass. Therefore, we ask you to schedule a weekly hour of practice. Pick a day and time that you feel fresh!

Mark the recurring hour of practice in your calendar. Do it now, because after the masterclass you’ll forget.