I just finished teaching Computer-Assisted Content Analysis at the IQMR summer school at Syracuse. With three lecture and three labs the problem every year is getting the right R packages onto people’s machines. In particular, anything that involves compilation – and when you’re using quanteda, readtext, and stm, that’s lots of things – is going to be trouble. Over the years, R and the various operating systems it has to live in have got a lot better about this but ultimately the best solution is… not to do it at all. That is, to run everything on somebody else’s computers, excuse me, ‘in the cloud’. When students access an appropriately provisioned RStudio Server through their browsers they’re good to go from Lab one.
This post is about how to set all that up.