Development of course material in a multi-author environment
AbstractSoftware for text processing and presentation design is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Nevertheless, it is difficult to find a good solution for collaborative writing of technical course material, allowing the creation of high quality lecture notes and presentation slides from a single source. This article presents a new editing framework for the development of continuing professional development (CPD) teaching material. The courses are developed and delivered jointly by a team of academics, and comprise various engineering subjects. The described workflows, however, are equally applicable for any higher education course. The needs of authors are explored, and good teaching and learning practices are established. Based on these investigations, a catalogue of software requirements is created and compared with features of current commercial and open source applications. Despite the general trend to use graphical interfaces, it is concluded that the workflow has to be based on source files written in a markup language in order to fulfil all specifications. Although the Extensible Markup Language (XML) has become increasingly popular during the last decade, a LaTeX based solution is preferred. Reasons for that decision are discussed, and the developed editing framework is described in detail.
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