Before You Begin
Here are some key points:
- Have a plan. How will you be organizing the content? By daily readings? Chapters? Lesson modules? What links to other resources (such as a Learning Management System) will you need to have ready? What will you want to show from the online text during your classes?
- Balance text and media. It can get very exciting to include Jmols or videos while building your own content. Remember the triplet relationship and attempt to adhere to design principles where possible. A review of the pedagogical rationale for our existing hypertext book is given in Chapter 15 of Enhancing Learning with Online Resources, Social Networking, and Digital Libraries (direct link).
- ChemPaths are very large. Along with all of the associated metadata (author, dates, etc.) a single ChemPath can take a long time to copy or create a printable version. Hence: try to keep copying from another ChemPath to a maximum of a chapter (< 15 pages) at a time. You will not be able to copy an entire ChemPath.
- Every new ChemPath MUST start with a "Book page." A book page is a page created within ChemPaths that can be edited within ChemPaths.
- Always click "PREVIEW" before SAVE. This will avoid any loss of data due to time-outs.
- SAVE frequently. This is not just to save your work. The web is not as robust as Microsoft Word. If you have trouble uploading an image, or editing, chances are the work since your last save is just lost. A regular save and re-edit will avoid most woes.
- Avoid more than two levels. An easy-to-navigate ChemPath will consist of header page and sub-pages. For example, this ChemPath has four header pages (Before You Begin, Tools for Editing and Organizing, Initiating a ChemPath, and Adding to a ChemPath). The header page Adding to a ChemPath has several sub-pages. It is best to avoid sub-sub-pages. The navigational tools built in to this site work best with just two levels of organization. There may be times to break this rule, but it is a good guideline.
- Interactivity is very important to learning online. If you enable Comments, be sure to monitor the comment activity. When you are logged in, you can monitor comments on any page from a side-bar menu of recent comments.
- You can edit this ChemPath. Think something is unclear? Would you like to remind yourself of how you did something? You can edit this ChemPath to meet your personal needs. It has your username at the top of the page, which means that the changes you make apply only to you. Therefore you can feel free to click "Edit" and add your own notes.
- Revisions record. For any ChemPath, you can view all revisions. If you change something that causes serious problems, you can revert the the previous version, or even several versions back. This can be a lifesaver at times.