Setup and Software


The STAT 447 course aims to provide rigorous training in modern programming and data science methods. As in the past, we rely on best-of-breed tools. The two most important ones are RStudio Cloud and GitHub both of which require action by you to get set up. This page provides the details.

The first of these two tools is RStudio as the primary coding environment. The second is GitHub as a place for git repositories, “social coding” i.e. communication via issue tickets, pull request, markdown documentation and more.

Initially introduced for the Fall 2021 term, some changes have been made university-wide. Both of these changes work with the Single-Sign On (SSO) system. (There may be more changes Fall 2021.)

This page details the setup and highlights steps you have to take.

RStudio Cloud

Broadly speaking, the RStudio IDE can be used three ways: as a local installation on your computer, via the RStudio Server on a computer you can access, or via RStudio Cloud. The latter has a number of important advantages in terms ease of installation, keeping it current, resourcing and more that make is a great resource for a class. University of Illinois was participating in an earlier pilot, and we used the beta version of RStudio Cloud with great success as it offered (essentially unlimited) access for free.

Since August 2020, RStudio Cloud is an official product, and unlimited hours are no longer available for free from RStudio. As part of the campus-wide use at University of Illinois, a package has been negotiated. For an one-time fee of $27.50 (unchanged relative to 2020) you get unlimited use (i.e. for all you course) for a period of five months covering the term plus some grace period until December 31 or slightly after. The use includes increased storage and memory settings, and the ability to scale to several cpus.

Action Items:

First, purchase the required RStudio Cloud / U of I token, visit the campus webstore at this URL. This provides your netid with access to the course resource.

Second, wait a few minutes. Maybe brew another coffee or tea, or go for a short walk. Transfer of the token from the webstore to the backend RStudio Cloud and our Single-Sign On use is not instantaneous. We have been told it may be a few minutes. So do not immediately send us an email that it is not working…

Third, usea this link to log into the RStudio Cloud course space for the course using your email. Do this only after you purchased the token. Do not log in via Google or GitHub authentication as you must use SSO with your university id to get access to the course space.

Additional documentation is provided in this knowledge base article.


In the (distant) past, the course has relied on students using personal logins at without the SSO connections, making coordination with netids more difficult and cumbersome. An interim solution was using GitHub in an on-campus instance with netids, this was also cumbersome (for some) as it disconnected from your usual GitHub setup. This year, just like last year, we are participating in a pilot project that is part of a planned wider rollout of U of Illinois-provided GitHub services (more info here). This combines your own account at GitHub (in the cloud, the standard with the single sign-on (SSO) validating your U of I credentials in the usual way. As a side-benefit, we can also map your netid and your GitHub account.

Action Items:

First. We have created a GitHub ‘organization’ for the course called ‘illinois-stat447’. We have emailed you a link to follow to join. To do so, sign into GitHub to the emailed URL and using your netid and SSO. (If you do not have an account one screen will to create one.) That adds you to the ‘org’. We will then add you to the team ‘students-fa21’ and take it from there.

If you do have not yet have a GitHub account, you can create one here. Additional information, should you need it, is available here


We will continue to use for slides, course videos, and support files. We will generally provide direct links from this website. Access will require SSO via your netid.

You may need to create an account for this ‘’ application if you have never used it before. No additional setup should be needed.

The content of the video folder is also synchronized with this ClassTranscribe playlist.


Additionally, a playlist at ClassTranscribe offers alternate access to our course videos. Access should also require SSO via your netid.


Compass2g will be used to view registrations / student roster, grades, and (generally weekly) group emails / announcements. We do not use Canvas or Piazza.

Discussion Forum

We will once again use GitHub issues in a dedicated repository. This a common practice in real-world projects. In the past, course staff has generally reacted within a few hours of each post, and we will again strive to provide timely follow-up.

We also strongly encourage direct student engagements. If you know how to answer a question of a fellow student, post the answer rather than just wait for the course staff to chime in.