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VC’s Wiley coauthors two books with brother during pandemic

Matt Wiley

Victoria College’s Matt Wiley has made the most of his free time during the COVID-19 pandemic to coauthor two books with his brother.

Wiley, who is VC’s director of Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Assessment (IERA), and his brother, Joshua Wiley, released the second edition of “Advance R 4 Data Programming and the Cloud” in July and will release “Beginning R 4” in November.

“It wasn’t our plan to write these books during the pandemic,” Matt said. “I write most nights and on weekends. This year, due to the coronavirus, I took a week of ‘staycation’ time to write, too.”

Their second edition of “Advance R 4 Data Programming and the Cloud” is based on the idea of connecting to a large database, creating reproducible research and data analysis, and sharing that information with stakeholders in various formats – Microsoft Word, portable documents (PDFs) or online (cloud) dashboards.

“I honed the skills used to write it working at Victoria College,” Matt said. “VC connects to Banner, a structured query language (SQL) database, which uses hundreds of thousands of rows of data. We regularly share reports with the VC Board of Trustees, senior administration and the federal and state governments.”

Wiley’s assistance in the automation of the process has allowed Victoria College’s IERA department to function with two full-time employees. Previously, three to four employees were necessary to perform the same duties.

“Beginning R 4” was a completely new project for the Wileys.

“It is meant to serve as a real-world, statistical methods book for students,” said Joshua, who is a lecturer in the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health and School of Psychological Sciences at Monash University in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. “It could be used in courses such as Texas’ MATH 1342 as well as with my honors and doctoral psychology students in Australia. In any case, it introduces learners to statistical methods and to the R programming language.”

“We wanted this book to be learner-friendly, so our publisher contracted VC IERA Assistant Director Rachel Winkenwerder as a technical reviewer,” Matt said. “Her extensive experience with curriculum and teaching in both China and the U.S., in K-12 as well as at VC, along with her programming expertise, gave us a very useful technical review. The final draft is reader friendly, has comprehension check exercises at the end, and is meant to help readers grow from novice to professional.”

Matt said he enjoyed the opportunity to work with his brother 9,000 miles on the other side of the planet.

“My brother’s background is in health psychology research, and mine is computer science, mathematics and business,” Matt said. “I think we complement each other well. Writing together helps us connect with a more diverse audience and is a nice way to ensure we get family time between Australia and Texas during this pandemic.”

“Advanced R 4 Data Programming and the Cloud” is available at Springer.com for $44.99 (softcover) and $34.99 (eBook). Pre-order copies of “Beginning R 4” can be reserved at Springer.com for $39.99 (softcover) and $29.99 (eBook).