Welcome to the online R course. We hope that you will enjoy this course. The course material is accessible via the menu on the left. The password to open the web pages was sent to you via email when you signed up for the course.

Aim of this course

Based on their extensive experience with teaching R and statistics to applied scientists, the course organizers (Dr Alain F Zuur and Dr Elena N Ieno) provide a beginner's guide to R. To avoid the difficulty of teaching R and statistics at the same time, statistical methods are kept to a minimum. The course material covers how to download and install R, import and manage data, elementary plotting, an introduction to functions, advanced plotting, and common beginner mistakes.

This course contains everything you need to know to get started with R.

Format of the course

This course is based on the book A Beginner’s Guide to R by Zuur et al. (2009).


Nearly all sections have been converted into video files in which you can watch powerpoint presentations with audio comments. There are extra video files in which the instructor explain things, and each chapter has a set of exercises which have also been converted into video solution files. There are no preset times, so you decide your own course schedule. Our suggested format is as follows:

  • Watch a video file explaining a certain R technique.
  • Execute the corresponding R code yourself and try to understand it.
  • Watch the video again (if needed).
  • Make an exercise.
  • Watch the video solution file of the exercise and compare your R code with our R code (which is also provided).
  • Work your way through the course material in your own time. If you have any questions, then feel free to contact the instructors.
  • Make the final certificate exercise. A certificate is available upon successful completion of an extra exercise.

It takes about 3 days to complete all the course material.



General introduction, getting data into R, accessing variables and managing subsets of data, simple commands, introduction to basic plotting tools, loops and functions, graphing tools, introduction to the lattice package (multipanel graphs), common R mistakes.


Course content

See the table of content of our book for a detailed list of the course material. Subsections 2.2.2 and 2.2.3 are not covered. Our book (A Beginner’s Guide to R) is not included in the course fee. We recommend that you obtain a copy of our book, but the course can be completed without it. Your university library is likely to have a copy of our book.


You can download all material, and video files can be accessed/opened for 24 months. You can view the same video file as often as you want within the 12 month period, but you cannot share the video file with colleagues.

Pre-required knowledge: None

Interaction with instructors: You have access to a discussion board where you can ask questions on the course material and exercises.

Here is a flyer for this course.



Direct link to this mp4 file: