ENVS Lectures

This project is based upon a reconfiguration of the way in which we provide quantitative curricula in this time of uncertainty. In-class and in-person teaching of quantitative classes is not an option right now so this is an attempt to really step back and see how this kind of content can be deployed most effectivtly.


One of the things that all of our professsional organizations and educational institutions are trying to do right now is to apply the same paradigms of how we organize professional meetings or teaching by simply switching out the normal in-person activities with online ones in a 1-for-1 slot. Is this the best we can do or are we just doing what we know how to do?

Some of the things that come to light are:

  1. We really do not need to be in-person for these activities. We have been able to work remotely in a somewhat successful manner. This is amazing surprising since we essentially had no lead time to get things configured to do so—my University said, ‘take an extra week of spring break and move everything online’. How do we configure distributed content for the most effective deployment?

  2. If we do not need to localized in space, do we need to be localized in time as well? The notion of an annual meeting at a particular locale may now be outdated. Rather than a single event, can we develop interactive and collaborative approaches that will extend across broad reaches of time in the same way as we are able to do for space? How can we be more connected across larger spans of time to have continued collabration and amplification of innovation?

  3. Can we configure our content in a way that is more distributed such that redundancy is minimized? For a lot of our curriculum, there is a base level of understanding that our students must get familar with. Can we make this more centralized for both initial learning as well as for reinforcements and post-class re-discovery? Once enough of the pieces are put in place, Can we have a more centralized repository of learning components that can be reshuffled and expanded to make new class offerings?



As a first pass for all the R related classes I teach, I thought it would be good to start with the following components:

  • A Narriative R Notebook with all the code for the specific topic being discussed.
  • A set of Slides that go with the content, providing more generalized overview—the big picture.
  • A Video of the slide content and an application of components found within the narriative notebook. This must be viewed by the students prior to class.
  • A n Interactive component, where the students can test their own knowledge on the content being provided. I’m leaning towards having this provided via the learnr package.
  • A set of Homework questions that the participants would work on during the in virtual class sessions.

To start, I’ve set up a GitHub account to host these individual components and provide a skeleton for viewing the content here.

Father, Husband, Brewer, Professor

Middle aged guy trying to keep it all together and figure out how to best navigate the world as it is. Technology geek, practitioner of fermentation sciences, researcher, biologist.