Back to Course Writing


Today is the first day I've been back to work in more than two weeks. Usually I completely forget about using my days off, thinking I will need them for "emergency purposes" and thus, keeping them in reserve until the end of the year catches up to me. Ahhh, the vacation pattern of the workaholic... As I'm in my (retroactive) fifth year at my job, I have a total of four weeks of vacation coming to me this year. If I know what's good for me, I'll think about using it more often rather than letting it build up until the end of the year. Today's task is to write the lecture portion for my product course. This one is about XSL. I studied XSL years ago when I was considering writing a content manager based on it. While the content manager never really went anywhere, the XSL and XPath knowledge it gained me has been handy in my day-job. Now I need to figure out a way to translate it to a lecture. When I outlined the class, I had decided to break the XSL unit into two halves. The first half covered XSL concepts, and the second half dealt with using the GUI XSL Editor included with the product. Looking at it today, however, I wonder if I should break the unit into functional concepts -- elements, flow control, parameters, etc. -- and embed the editor knowledge into the slides. I may want to drive the point home in the end by including a step-by-step example, but I'm not quite to that point yet. That leaves the problem about how to make the slides look. This usually trips me up when I am writing a class for the first time. I not only want the slides to look good, but also to have an appropriate level of "information density". I was thinking of basing it partly on the visual style I used from a different product class years ago, but making that translate hasn't been altogether successful in my mind's-eye.