in code teaching wnm artu ~ read.

Using Git and Markdown in a Course Writing Workflow

Every so often my role in the School of Web Design & New Media requires that I create online course work. In the past this has been a draining process, to say the least. Developing the written content has always been the most time consuming. I really enjoy record media (videos, demos, etc.) but as soon as it came to the written content my eyes would shut and my head would hit the desk.

Writers Block

I love what I do. I love creating learning content. So I figure it has to be something with my workflow and decided it was time to reexamine it.

In the past course builds I typically followed this workflow.

  1. Create Course Outline
  2. Write First Lesson (In MS Word)
  3. Film/Record Media
  4. Upload all content for review
  5. Receive email from Content Editor with changes in the Word files.
  6. Review
  7. Reupload

It isn't a very collaborative process and I found Word and emailing to be my biggest bottleneck. I like to write code. I like to use git. So I've augmented the process to include these. But alas, Word files are binary and git treats them as such so I can't see diffs of my work, and other such useful items I use when writing code. So I've switched over to using Markdown. That solves that. I can now write courses in my favorite editor and use git. Our Content Editors can go in and review the work, make changes, and create a pull request. This makes the creating the written content much more fun. No more Word. No more emails.

When everything is finished I will have to convert the .md to .doc for final submission but that can be easily achieved with pandoc.

Added Bonus: I can now include a number of Instructors on my course builds and get their input as the process moves a long.

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