This course is brought to you by the Lab of Environmental Informatics (University of Marburg, Germany) and was funded by the “digLL” initiative of the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and the Arts.

A life without the free programming language R is no longer imaginable for many people and those who do not know R often do not know what they are missing. Unfortunately, the widespread believe that R is difficult to learn still exists, which makes it unnecessarily difficult for many newcomers to enter the world of R. We would like to change this with this course.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this course you should

  • know and understand the basic properties of an object-oriented programming language,
  • flexibly use your knowledge and understanding in various programming contexts, and
  • have the basic programming skills for working in more complex subject-specific projects.

Course features

This course is intended as a blended learning module in the study program of the Department of Geography at the University of Marburg. However, the provided units and spotlights can also be used independently.


Unit Topic Content
01 Overview and the very Basics Set up everything for operating R, take your own first steps in R, and learn how to get help
02 Types of Data How data is measured and organized with an R perspective
03 Types of Objects How data types are structured within different object types in R
04 Indexing Learn how to access your data in R objects
05 Work Environment Set up your directory structure and get control over your paths to directories and files
06 Data Input and Output Get your data in and out of R
07 Operations Operations with operators, decisions structures, and loops
08 Sorting and Combining Data Sort, order, bind, and merge your data
09 Simple Visualizations Quickly and simply visualize your data
  Spotlights Additional resources on selected topics

Preparation and prerequisites

No preparation or prerequisites are needed for this course.


Dirk Zeuss

University of Marburg