What is Posit Cloud?

  • Posit Cloud is a web service that delivers a browser-based experience similar to RStudio, the standard IDE for the R language.

Who can use Posit Cloud?

  • Posit is intended for use in courses by faculty and their students.

Research activities are permitted by the College’s Posit Cloud subscription; but where computationally-intensive research is to be conducted, access to the ITS computational cluster can be requested with an email to help@lafayette.edu.

A stand-alone installation of RStudio running on a local system is another option.

How can I request access for use in a class I am teaching?

  • Please send an email to help@lafayette.edu requesting to use Posit in a class, along with the course number and sections, together with the semester of the course.

Can Posit Cloud be used to conduct research?

  • Dependent on the use case, where computationally-intensive research is to be conducted using R, Posit Cloud is available for use upon request with an email to help@lafayette.edu.
  • Alternatively, access to the College’s high-performance computational (HPC) cluster may also be considered.
  • A stand-alone installation of RStudio running on a local system is another option.

How do I access Posit Cloud?

  • Once you have been granted access, navigate to the below URL and click the Log In via Lafayette College button where you’ll be redirected to the College’s single sign-on page:  sso.posit.cloud/lafayette-college
  • Note that when accessing Posit for the first time, it will ask for a preferred username (and will provide a default option). Generally, the default can be accepted, but it may be customized if preferred. This username is mostly inconsequential unless there’s an intention to use Shiny apps (shinyapps.io/), etc.
  • IMPORTANT:  Once instructors reach the Posit interface for the first time, before proceeding with any work, an email must be sent to help@lafayette.edu requesting an account upgrade to “contributor”.

How do I set up Posit Cloud for teaching?

  • We strongly encourage anyone new to Posit to read the documentation available from within the Posit platform: posit.cloud/learn/guide
  • Instructors should typically create a shared Space for each course they’re teaching. Each Space provides students with a place to access their assignments and complete their coursework. Instructors are able to share Projects as assignments and view student work.
  • To create a Space, go to the navigation sidebar on the left (clicking the menu icon if needed) and choose “+ New Space“.
  • A shareable link to the Space can be generated and distributed via email or through Moodle, etc., enabling students to be automatically added. By default, shareable links expire after 7 days.
  • Within a Space, multiple projects can be created, which individually correspond to Assignments. By default, projects are private until they’re made visible to all members of a Space via the Settings > Access menu.
  • Important:  To make a project an assignment, check the “Make this project an assignment” checkbox. Each student will get their own permanent copy of the project to work on and if they attempt to access the project again later, they’ll be redirected to their own copy.

Archiving and Restoring Spaces

  • Spaces from previous semesters must be archived to release the accounts from the College’s organizational account.
  • Note that a path is available for restoring Archived Spaces, but student membership in those Spaces is not automatically restored.  Students that request access to a restored Space can do so with an email to help@lafayette.edu
  • The data associated with all members of a Space is not purged, and when a student is readded to a restored Space, they will regain access to their projects and data.
  • Important:  Prior to archiving an old Space, a copy can be created for future courses.  All projects, packages, and associated files will be duplicated to the new Space.  The Space’s membership is not copied.
  • When creating Spaces, it is recommended that a naming convention that includes the course-section numbers, semester, and year be considered to enable easy identification of archived Spaces.

Posit Cloud Accounts/Workspaces

  • Both a personal and an organizational account is created for each Posit user. The College provides an organizational account to enable instructors to host course Spaces for each class.  The organizational account is named “Lafayette College”.
  • IMPORTANT:  Spaces must be created using the organizational account, rather than a personal account which has significant limitations. A drop-down box confirms the account that is to be used. This drop-down defaults to the personal account and must be changed.

Posit Cloud Projects/Assignments

  • Within each Space, instructors can create multiple Projects. Projects individually correspond to Assignments and can be thought of as distinct and isolated Posit environments. Each project can be set as the current default, presenting students with the current assignment when they log in, complete with its associated files.
  • When a project is explicitly marked as an assignment, each student will automatically receive an individual, private copy. This enables instructors to provide customized environments for each discrete assignment, with different modules and even system utilities.
  • Note that once students clone a project marked as an assignment, it can no longer be centrally modified.

How can I add a new R package?

  • Once a course Space has been created, it’s possible to configure all projects within that Space with a default set of files and packages. Instructors can accomplish this by defining a base project.
  • Create a new Project and add all the necessary files and packages for the projects that will be created within that Space. Configure the Project so that all members of the course space can access it.  Now go to the Space settings page using the Gear icon to the upper right, and from the drop-down labeled “Base Project”, select the project.
  • Note that when a project has been specified as the base project, it will no longer be listed in the space’s available projects.
  • In addition, any specific project can be further customized with files and packages as needed.

How can I distribute files to students?

  • There are two primary methods that can be used to distribute files to students.
  1. The simplest method is for instructors to configure each project with the files prior to providing access to the class. When students clone the assignment, they’ll receive a duplicate of the files.
  2. Alternatively, data or zip files can be shared through a Moodle course site enabling students to download them to their personal computer.
  • From within a project, students can navigate the directory structure via the file viewer pane found to the lower-right of the RStudio interface. From that pane, click Upload. The option is available to upload a single data file, or to a zip archive file for a directory of files. Archive files will automatically expand once uploaded.
  • Note that it may be preferable to first create a new folder in which to store uploaded files so they’re expanded in a manageable way. To do so, click the New Folder button.

Can I link GitHub to Posit Cloud

  • A GitHub account can be linked to Posit by clicking your name in the upper-right of the interface, and selecting Authentication. Check the Enable box adjacent to the GitHub option, and the page will be redirected to the GitHub authentication page.
  • While the exact steps are beyond the scope of this document, a Git repository can be used to create projects, into which all necessary files can be added.
  • Once a project has been created in GitHub, it can be imported into RSC by selecting the drop-down button adjacent to the New Project button. Select “New Project from Git Repository” and enter the “URL of your Git Repository”.
  • Note that when creating a project within a Git repository, read permissions should be set to Public in order for your project’s members to import it.

Is collaborative editing available in Posit Cloud?

  • Collaborative editing, similar to that provided by Google Docs, is not yet available.  The Posit team hopes to introduce this feature in the future.
  • The Posit interface provides information about newly introduced features on a page entitled What’s New.

Where can I get help with Posit Cloud?

  • As a service provided directly by Posit Cloud (formerly RStudio Cloud), there are several sources of information and assistance that can be leveraged.  Documentation is provided on the platform:  posit.cloud/learn/guide
  • For technical issues relating to the RSC service, email support@posit.cloud
  • For general support including issues logging in, send an email to help@lafayette.edu or contact the Lafayette Service Desk directly at (610) 330-5501.

Service Status

In the event of a Posit Cloud outage, service information can be found using the below URL:

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