Learning markup and style languages

Learning markup and style languages

This week we submitted an assignment that required us to use XML and CSS to create a short document for technical communicators. Basically, it was an introduction to using markup and style languages. But having no experience whatsoever of either XML or CSS, it goes without saying that I found this a challenging experience.

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And now for the next phase

And now for the next phase

Last week we handed the virtual team assignment over to the French students so that they could begin the translation phase. This is particularly interesting for our group as one of the students is actually Italian, so she will effectively be working with two non-native languages for this project. Nonetheless, having seen how she and her colleague write in the discussion forums, I trust them both to accomplish this task. Both write fluently in English and both seem very friendly and capable. This interview with Italian technical writer Alessandro Stazi gives some insight into the task that our team members now face.

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Gamification in education

Gamification in education

One topic that has sparked my interest in the past week or so is that of gamification, particularly in how it relates to education. Gamification simply refers to the use of game design and mechanics in non-game settings, with the aim of getting individuals to engage in a particular topic or learn new skills.

Games offer a kind of engagement that rarely happens in our schools or workplaces. Jane McGonigal, in her book Reality is Broken, argues that the tasks players undertake in the gaming world often feel more meaningful than the work they carry out in their real lives. As a result, people tend to be more curious, determined, optimistic, and resilient to failure when they are playing games. Many educators are therefore interested in bringing this mind-set to the education system.

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Document design 101

Document design 101

For the virtual team project, our team decided that two people would be needed to work as graphic designers. Our particular project is about writing instructions on how to use Instagram, and we realised early on that we would need an awful lot of screenshots to accompany the written instructions. And this therefore meant that there would be a lot of work in this role.

So I had a choice between the editor and second graphic designer role, and I ended up taking the graphic designer role. Continue reading “Document design 101”

The usefulness of Facebook

The usefulness of Facebook

So this week saw a bit more progress with our group, although we do still unfortunately appear to be moving very slowly with the project. I wish that we could have had more time to get to know each other (and our various schedules!) a bit better.

Two main things happened. Firstly, I set up a folder on Google Drive that the whole group can access. Now we all have access to the same documents in the one place and we can update them instantly.

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Technology-Enhanced Learning

Technology-Enhanced Learning

One of the topics we looked at recently was the role of flexible learning and technology-enhanced learning (TEL) in Irish higher education. The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education is an organisation that produces reports and policy documents on the state of technology and teaching practice in Irish higher institutions.

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