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Learner Reviews & Feedback for R Programming by Johns Hopkins University

22,214 ratings

About the Course

In this course you will learn how to program in R and how to use R for effective data analysis. You will learn how to install and configure software necessary for a statistical programming environment and describe generic programming language concepts as they are implemented in a high-level statistical language. The course covers practical issues in statistical computing which includes programming in R, reading data into R, accessing R packages, writing R functions, debugging, profiling R code, and organizing and commenting R code. Topics in statistical data analysis will provide working examples....

Top reviews


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Very challenging, but good course. I've been programming in R for over a year, but there were still some things for me to pick up in this class. Assignments were a challenge, but satisfying to tackle.


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I am pleasantly surprised with the quality of this course. For a beginner, the Swirl exercises are incredibly helpful and I was able to build confidence in working with R because of them. Thank you!

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26 - 50 of 4,733 Reviews for R Programming

By Parth P

Apr 12, 2019

The difficulty curve was too high

By Walter H

Feb 3, 2016

"R Programming" forces you to dive in deep.

These skills serve as a strong basis for the rest of the data science specialization.

Material is in depth, but presented clearly. Highly recommended!

By Eric J

Jul 12, 2016

Excellent course! I already knew a lot about R - but this class helped me solidify what I already knew, taught me lots of new tricks, and now I have a certificate that says I know `something' about R!

By Amy G

May 23, 2020

At first glance, the lectures seemed great - they explain the chosen lecture material well and give you a good background on the basic building blocks and theory of R. The quizzes were also pretty good because they directly test you on the lectures and help reinforce the key ideas.

The problem with this course is the assignments. While the assignments are well-made in themselves and would otherwise help you learn by doing, they have little to no correlation with anything covered in the lectures for that particular week - or, if they do, it is not made sufficiently clear, even in hindsight.

This is not a fatal flaw learning-wise, because you can dig around in the forums/elsewhere on the internet for tutorials and explanations of the concepts you need to do the assignments, and through this you can still learn the intended material. I do feel like I've walked away from this course having learned what the instructor meant for me to learn about R.

But it does beg the question - if 80% of the essential material for succeeding in this course must be found by scouring outside websites and extra articles posted by former students in the forums, then what exactly am I paying for?

Furthermore, it seems I am not the only one who feels this way - more than once in this course I found a post from a mentor in the forums containing a random article from elsewhere on the web, with the caption "many students have said they are confused about [topic], so for the purposes of the assignment, consider this the 'missing lecture' from this week." For a free course/completely self-taught approach, this would be fine, but as part of a paid specialization, the extremely large gap between the given material and the assessments was deeply frustrating.

I understand that to learn programming is, to a certain extent, to learn by doing, and to learn how to take the theoretical information that was imparted in class and apply it to a new or different problem that is presented as an exercise. However, when, after taking diligent notes on all of the week's lectures and completing all 15 extra-credit swirl exercises twice just to make sure I haven't missed anything, I am still left wondering if the assignment in front of me was uploaded to the wrong course by the instructor by mistake, something has gone quite awry in the course design.

This course is not unhelpful, but it's not worth paying for.

By Marta R

May 19, 2019

Great course, however I think it is particularly hard for those who never had programmed in R before. Moreover I think the Programming Assignments were quite hard regarding the topics being discussed during the weeks.

By Ian H

Mar 5, 2019

The problems are too large in comparison for what is taught.

By Sangeeta R

Apr 15, 2019

The course can be little more better for folks who are non programmers to begin with. This is an advanced course for a beginner/non programmer, hence would recommend to have a beginner course for non programmers/ R and then this course should be offered.

By Abhey K

May 27, 2017

This was very engaging, however, the level of expectation and effort needed is much greater than course 1 - ToolBox.

This is perhaps the best course on R Programming designed for a small duration.

By Faylene T G

Feb 17, 2019

A little more explanation on how to program using R constructs would certainly help. The course suddenly throws us deep into the ocean with hardly any experience in swimming.

By Nouran A

Feb 14, 2019

Assignments are hard compared to the content

By Lorena M M

Dec 1, 2019

The lectures are not very engaging, just listening to someone talk about a code is not a good way to learn how to do it. The swirl course is a better option, but it is very basic and in most cases it consists only in copying something that's already on the screen. The gap between what you are taught in the lectures and the assignments is absolutely abysmal and incredibly frustrating. How are we supposed to know how to create complicated functions after just listening to someone say what a function is? I don't think that teaching someone the equivalent to "2+2=4" and then asking them to solve Riemann's Hypothesis in the exam is very fair.

I would not recommend this course.

By Rob E

May 21, 2020

Roger Peng is regarded as one of the best in the business when it comes to practicing data science, but I found his instruction skills wanting. As someone new to R and new to programming, I found him somewhat hard to follow at times. Nevertheless, I powered through. Unfortunately, when I came to the quiz at the end of Week 2, I found it was drawing on background knowledge that had not been taught in the course. Honestly, unless you're starting with a background in programming, I would not recommend this course.

By Dilip A

Dec 23, 2019

The instructor appears unprepared to present the material. When presenting it appears that it's the first time he is reviewing the material.

This is my first bad experience on Coursera. The last Coursera course I took (SQL for Data Science by University of California, Davis) was great as it appeared that the instructor was prepared with what they were going to present.

Coursera needs to vet their instructors' course recordings before allowing them to put forth their material on the site.

By Sotirios T

Oct 14, 2018

Programming assignments are very hard (and in some cases irrelevant) based on the material presented and topics discussed

By Rushi P

Mar 31, 2019

Gave to little instruction and expected the assignments to be completed based on very little instruction

By Carlos M

Aug 22, 2016

Difficult at times, I regularly used outside websites like stackoverflow to help with assignments, but that's how the real world works, there's no way that the lectures could solve all your problems.

Favorite: writing my own functions that searched real databases and returned means, ranks, and useful info. I felt like I took a huge step forward in my goal for data science.

Least favorite: Assignment #2, it felt completely unrelated to anything I learned, I wasted hours just to find out it was redundantly simple and in the end I didn't even find out if my code worked, the grade was peer-reviewed based on if you could correctly upload it to github and if it "looked" like it would work. (How would I know! LOL, I assumed all my peers' code was good enough)

Would 100% take this course again.

By John O R

Feb 22, 2022

The course was very useful for learning the basics of R. The lectures were great, the swirl exercises were great, the quiz at the end of each week covered relevant topics.

However... the programming assignments were extremely difficult to the point of being almost impossible to complete without an enourmous amount of external help and research. They were way beyond the diffiulty level appropriate for the course and were impossible to complete or even understand with the information covered in the lectures and exercises. It was very discouraging at the start and I almost condiered giving up until I read other reviews and saw that many people were having the exact same issues that I was.

I think it is completely unacceptable to have assignments that are so beyond the difficulty level of the course that they are essentially irrelevant to the learning outcomes of the course. While the rest of the course was really great, this is an issue that needs to be addressed before I would consider recommending it to others.

By Kerryn A M

Oct 8, 2018

I learnt a lot, but most assignments required me to look a lot of stuff up outside of the course. They say they have done this deliberately to encourage "hacker mentality". I agree that we need to learn how to cope on our own, but it ends up taking up hours of your time and seems like a pointless lesson. One reason for doing a course like this is so that you can have access to consolidated and trusted learning materials, which was not really provided. Having said that, the assignments are a good way to push yourself to learn R. But most of what you need to do the assignments will not be provided within the course.

By Aleksa M

Nov 24, 2021

Compared to the data scientists toolbox this course was awful. Instructor was not clear, everything seems rushed, there was close to 0 engagement. A big disconnect with assignments. The assignments are 10 times harder than anything in the course, only someone who really knows how R works can handle those. Very very hard. Took me and a lot of other students tons of time. Most spent testing and googling. There should be a lot more assignments and quizes after every video lecture. Nothing was cleared up in discussion forums.

By Rimmon G

May 4, 2020

the lectures are very shallow and lack good code examples. The programming assignments are too hard. The worst course I have ever seen.

By Jose M

Jan 6, 2019

A very, very excellent course, really be very satisfied with what I learned during these four weeks. Only one thing, in my opinion, I felt that the "Programming Assignment" are a little bit bigger than what is explained in the videos (and that's really good), but some exercises that are requested in these "Programming Assignments" could still be be added to the list of 'things to learn', for us not to get so lost to these same.

By Astolfo

Jul 30, 2020

Great course.

Just as a spoiler, in the cache excercise, no one really understood what they answered and admins should change that assignment URGENLTY, because is frustraing. So when you solve that part, don't feel dumb, we all did, we feel you bro.

By Guilherme B

Feb 2, 2016

Excelente opportunity to learn a lot. The course is very well prepared introduce you to R programing. Dont feel bad if you dont get it at te first moment. It will be a process of leaning worth trying

By James M I

Apr 15, 2016

Great course to start getting your hands into R. While the lectures are OK and the Swirl exercises are great, the course falls a bit short in building you up to tackling the weekly programming assignments. I had to spend a lot of time researching on my own to complete the assignments. I don't mind that, but I could do that on my own without paying for the course. I'm paying because I want to learn R quickly without spending hours researching what could have easily been described in the lectures. A lot of times, the course mentors in the discussion forums provided the best guidance. I would have liked each programming exercise to build upon the last one, so that at the end of the course I would have a great R product to review later. As it is, each programming assignment can stand on its own. When learning to programming in a new language, I prefer small, quick victories that build upon one another to accomplish a great task. This is the reason for not giving full 5-stars. Otherwise, Dr. Peng does a good job at providing material. And, be sure to check out his podcast, Not So Standard Deviations, to remind you that even people who have been in this field for years still find some areas challenging. It gives us R beginners some mental support.

By Jacob T

Apr 3, 2019

This is an excellent course but be warned, the programming assignments are difficult. If you do not have any coding experience, the assignments may be a bit challenging for you. But with the help of the internet and Github, you can complete them with no problems. The course content is great. All the videos and information are for beginners and are very helpful. The best part of the course was the swirl exercises it had you complete in R. Swirl exercises acquitted you with the programming needed for success in R. Overall it is a great course. Just understand that the programming assignments can be challenging for new timers.