I teach epidemiologists basic programming skills, mostly in R. I’ve taught R in summer week-long workshops, as a one-afternoon workshop at SER 2014, and as a doctoral level class. It’s my take that at least a subset of epidemiologists should be competent programmers, particularly as the field engages more with so-called Big Data.
The thing about programming, though, is that it’s like a lot of skills: you learn it best by doing it. So teaching is a matter of showing an theme, then helping students grapple with variations. As Charlie DiMaggio, one of my teaching mentors and a fabulous all-around guy, realized, this works really well with flipped classrooms. I’m currently working to continue a trend Charlie started in getting Columbia’s doctoral level R class lectures online in order to most effectively ‘flip’ the classroom.