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This is a “how-to” page for adopters and contributors interested in using and modifying this resource.

This is an open-educational resource that is free to use, share, copy, edit, and remix, with attribution and following this license.

License: CC BY-SA 4.0

Cognition suite contents

The project repository at currently houses all of the source code necessary to build all of the major content resources. There are plans to add a cognitive psychology experiment lab platform, but that will likely be packaged separately.

The major contents include a course website, textbook, slide decks (see slide decks tab on course website), weekly learning modules (see website), and a growing test bank (email to request access).

The suite is developed using open-source software, relying heavily on R and RStudio and libraries from the open-source R community.

Warning about active development

These materials are being actively developed and the contents is subject to incremental change. I am using these materials to teach this course at Brooklyn College of CUNY, and I continuously update this repository as I modify the course over each semester. I plan to save snapshots of the repository at the end of each semester. These are currently saved as branches in the GitHub repository. I will likely switch to using Github releases to preserve prior versions.


I am sharing these materials in case they are useful for other students and teachers of cognition. I will be attempting to improve and expand the materials over time. If you are interested in suggesting changes or adding new content here are two ways to do so:

  1. Post an issue here
  2. Fork the repository and make a pull request.

Build your own course

In principle anyone should be able to download the repository and compile the resource. This would allow you modify the contents of this course to suit your own needs. Compiling this repository requires some expertise in the R environment. The remaining sections are intended as a very brief guide to getting started. This guide is currently very bare bones, and I hope to add more details here in the future.

Install R and R Studio and Github Desktop

Here’s some tips on getting the open-source software tools you will need:

Get the repo

You can fork, clone, or download the repository to your local computer

Overarching Structure

The cognition repository is structured as a vertical project. This means that it is an R studio project with a file structure consistent with the R package syntax. As a result, the contents is a ‘pretend’ R package. In fact, the repository does contain some R functions that can be installed as an R package.

Adopting the R package syntax provides some structure for organizing the assets, and it allows use of the pkgdown to compile the course website.

Course Website

  1. Load cognition.Rproj in Rstudio
  2. pkgdown::build_site() will build the entire site

It is highly recommended to learn more about pkgdown from the pkgdown documentation

_pkgdown.yml configures the navbar, and other sitewide information. contains content for the langind page

Individual pages are written as R Markdown documents in the vignettes folder. pkgdown automatically renders .Rmd documents in vignettes. For example, the syllabus and learning modules pages are all written as .Rmds in vignettes.

All website assets are compiled into the docs folder, which is used to serve the assets to the web from the github repository using github pages.


The textbook is contained inside the textbook folder. This can be loaded as a separate R studio project by opening cognitiontextbook.Rproj. The textbook requires the bookdown package. Individual chapters are written as .Rmd files. _bookdown.yml controls which .Rmds are included in the book. _output.yml controls output formats, such as html, epub, and pdf. The book is compiled from the build tab in R studio.


The slides folder contains slide decks for each learning module. Slide decks are again .Rmds that compile to web-based slide decks using revealjs. Requires the revealjs R package.

Test bank

The test bank is not included in the public repository. It is written using the R package exams.