getting started - authoring

Getting Started - Authoring


Take the 7-minute video tour of authoring tools or skip straight to the summary at the bottom of the page.

Video overview of authoring tools.


writing a lesson

Use the "add content" button in the members toolbar or the "copy lesson" button on any lesson page to start your own lesson. A list of items specify the content and display of your lesson:

title - appears in search lists
description - a short description; the first 300 characters appear in search lists
body - the lesson itself; can include images, embedded videos, and tables (see more below)
equipment - a list of required and/or optional equipment or materials; these items will appear as links to equipment suppliers
file attachment(s) - any attached files that might be helpful in teaching the lesson; may include, lecture presentations, worksheets, quizzes, planning tools, etc.
related lessons - links to any other lessons that are closely related; the form will autocomplete with a list of matches
tags - a comma-separated list of tag words that might help find the lesson in search pages
subject - the science subfield, mark all that apply
min/max age - appropriate age range for the target audience
min/max budget - estimate of the budget; if the lesson includes making many copies of an apparatus, the budget numbers are for a single apparatus
min/max prep time - estimate of the teacher's preparation time before going into the classroom, not counting reading the lesson
min/max class time - estimate of the range of class time spent following the lesson
teaser picture - a small image displayed in search lists; may be left blank
users can view - a list of users that can read your private lesson (optional)
users can edit - a list of coauthors that can edit your lesson (optional)

the author toolbar

The body of the lesson is free form. A toolbar is provided for editing, much like any word processor, which includes the following features:

text style - bold, italic, or underline
text alignment - left, center, right or justified
lists - bulleted or numbered
hyperlinks - to external URLs, internal pages, or anchors on the same page
anchors - invisible targets to use for hyperlinks
text color - black is the default
special characters - gives you a dialog box to choose from
font style - including various heading styles, fonts, and sizes
tables - a dialog box allows you to set the table size and style; once the table is created, ctrl-click will open a dialog to add or delete cells, rows or columns
spell checking - SCAYT  (Spell Check As You Type)
footnotes - creates a footnote at the bottom of the page with forward and backward links; to edit the footnote after it has been created, highlight the footnote index in the edit window and ctrl-click on it
media - the "insert media" button allows you to import or embed images, audio and video; for more details see the Getting Started - Figures guide

writing a curriculum

Use a curriculum to organize your lesson plans for a period of time, or to identify lessons that are related by topic, or to group lessons for any other purpose. At a "curriculum" is simply a list of lessons with notes and commentary, to use however you like. Use the "add content" button in the members toolbar or the "copy curriculum" button on any curriculum page to start your own curriculum. Then start entering lessons and notes as you desire. You may also enter other curricula in place of lessons if you wish to nest one curriculum inside another. The curriculum display will show nestings up to three layers deep. Use the arrow handles at the left to arrange the lessons in the order you prefer.