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Subject: Re: [dita] FYI: One Successful Experience Teaching DITA at theCollege Level

On 1/5/09 9:44 PM, "stan@modularwriting.com" <stan@modularwriting.com>

> Hi all -- I just completed teaching an undergraduate course on modular
> information development and DITA at Bentley University (Waltham MA USA).
> The course had its bumps, but succeeded in its goals all in all. I
> thought that you might find the student writing and my summary evaluation
> of the course (see below) interesting ... I have attached the DITA 1.2
> PDF2 distillation. DITA may be more ready to break into academia and the
> undergraduate curriculum than we imagine. Stan Doherty

Very cool--thanks for sharing this experience.

>   * DITA on a stick: Although we managed to install DITA-OT 1.5 M4 on
>     Windows, Linux, and Mac laptops, we devoted more time to debugging
>     each installation and configuration than I had imagined or planned.
>     If the class were larger than 8-10 people, I would have been doing as
>     much IT support as teaching. I propose bypassing installation
>     altogether next time by running the JDK and DITA-OT off basic USB
>     thumb drives (I would provide them). All that the students would need
>     to do is to set environment variables on their laptops, classroom lab
>     PCs, or dormitory PCs. Setting up a full DITA-OT production
>     environment for the sake of authoring and building a small handful of
>     topics at a time was overkill.

If you used Oxygen from the get go you would also have a complete DITA OT
installation that would be consistently configured and as easy to extend or
configure as any standalone version would be (it's just the Toolkit out of
the box so all you have to do is put your plugins in the right place and it
just works).  

Unlike all the other DITA-aware XML editors I've worked with to date, Oxygen
is fully specialization aware and requires nothing more than adding a plugin
with your local shells or specializations to enable immediate authoring and
processing of documents that use them. Syntext Serna comes close but wasn't
quite this simple, at least the last time I tried it (which was about a year

If your students all install Oxygen to the same place, then a simple batch
script will suffice to install your course-specific plugins to it's version
of the Toolkit.

But I like the idea of putting the Toolkit on a thumb drive--drives less
than 1 Gig are practically free these days.



Eliot Kimber | Senior Solutions Architect | Really Strategies, Inc.
email:  ekimber@reallysi.com <mailto:ekimber@reallysi.com>
office: 610.631.6770 | cell: 512.554.9368
2570 Boulevard of the Generals | Suite 213 | Audubon, PA 19403
www.reallysi.com <http://www.reallysi.com>  | http://blog.reallysi.com
<http://blog.reallysi.com> | www.rsuitecms.com <http://www.rsuitecms.com> 

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