Turn off rendering for R Markdown files


(Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel) #1

I teach data science courses where students work in R and turn in work as R Markdown files. These files get nicely rendered on GitHub since they are markdown-ish files. However this means that we cannot get line references since the only viewing options are rendered markdown or raw. Is there a way to turn off rendering of R Markdown files on repositories so that I could get line references that I could then open issues on to provide more direct feedback to students?

Blame view sort of gets at this since it’s then possible to get line references, but then you’re in blame view and lose half the window to that.


(Naupaka Zimmerman) #2

That’s the exact reason I have them submit everything via pull request - that way it’s easy to give line-level feedback. GitHub Classroom doesn’t really support that workflow, though, so I’ve been using teachers_pet to set up all the student repos. I agree it would be nice to be able to comment directly even if it’s not a PR.


(Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel) #3

Right, submission via PR would resolve this problem. I have been trying to avoid this workflow in an effort to keep the learning curve for working with GitHub a bit less steep – this is an intro data science course, students’ first exposure to computing. Perhaps adding this as a feature request to GitHub is the way to go?

I haven’t yet done an extensive search on whether there are reasons for others requesting this feature for other reasons. Do you know of others?


(Naupaka Zimmerman) #4

Seems like it would be handy in general for commenting on Rmd/md/rst/org files. I don’t know of any way to do it, either.

I have been using PRs also for undergrad classes, in the Biology Dept. The workflow uses teachers_pet to create a new repo for each student in the class org from a template, with each student on their own team, then they fork this to their personal account, then clone, edit/add/commit, push as usual (all from RStudio), and submit via PR back to the class org, which also allows me to assign other students to review the assignment before I give my own feedback on the PR. Then after grading and revision, the PRs are merged into their corresponding organization repo. It works pretty well, especially for code, but line comments on prose paragraphs in Rmds isn’t really ideal, since whole paragraphs are generally on a single line.

This workflow isn’t possible with GitHub Classroom, which is why I have avoided using it so far.