What is RStudio Cloud?

  • RStudio Cloud (RSC) is a web service that delivers a browser-based experience similar to RStudio, the standard IDE for R users and developers.

Who can use RStudio Cloud?

  • RSC is intended for use in courses by faculty and their students. It is not intended for research purposes or for individual use; in such cases, a stand-alone installation of RStudio running on a local system is the better choice.

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

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

Can RStudio Cloud be used to conduct research?

  • RStudio Cloud is not conducive for intensive applications. Where computationally-intensive research is to be conducted, access to the ITS computational cluster, which has RStudio installed, can be requested with an email to help@lafayette.edu.

How do I access RStudio 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:  https://sso.rstudio.cloud/lafayette-college
  • Note that when accessing RSC 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 intention to use Shiny apps, etc.
  • IMPORTANT:  Once instructors reach the RSC interface for the first time, before proceeding with any work, an email must be sent to help@lafayette.edu requesting their account be upgraded to “contributor”.

How do I set up RStudio Cloud for teaching?

  • We strongly encourage anyone new to RSC to read the documentation available from within the RSC platform: rstudio.cloud/learn/guide
  • Instructors should typically create a Shared Space for each course they’re teaching. Each course space provides students with a place to access their assignments and to 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 sharable 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 in and if they attempt to access the access the project again later, they will be redirected to their own copy.

RStudio Cloud Accounts/Workspaces

  • Both a personal and an organizational account is created for each RSC 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:  Course spaces must be created using the College’s 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.

RStudio Cloud Projects/Assignments

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

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 course 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 RStudio Cloud

  • A GitHub account can be linked to RSC 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 RStudio Cloud?

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

Where can I get help with RStudio Cloud?

  • As a service provided directly by RStudio, there are several sources of information and assistance that can be leveraged.  RStudio provide documentation:  rstudio.cloud/learn/guide
  • For technical issues relating to the RSC service, email support@rstudio.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.
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