Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Howto convert a Wikibook into an OpenOffice document

It is pretty straightforward to convert a Wikibook (or any html document for that matter) into an OpenOffice document. Open a new clean OpenOffice document and also open the html (i.e. Wikibook) in you browser. Then select all (Ctrl-A) in the browser and paste it into the OpenOffice document. You will notice that heading tags (h1, h2, etc.) have been nicely mapped to the corresponding OpenOffice tags.

Next apply page formating. Right-click on the first page, and select 'Page...' to format the pages. You can change the format to 'Letter' or 'A4', the margins, the page numbering, as well as background, add header and footer. For now, add a header and a footer and make sure you deselect 'Same content left/right'. Click 'OK' and you will see that the changes are applied to the whole document.

To apply paragraph formatting, you right-click on the first page, and select 'Edit Paragraph Style...'. Here you could change the alignment to 'Justified' and the font to 'Liberation Serif'. Again, this is applied to the whole document.

To modify the style of heading, you need to open the Styles and Formatting window ('Format->Styles and Formatting (F11)'). Click on the little icon for 'Paragraph Style' select 'Heading 2', for instance, right-click on it and select 'Modify'. Change the font to 'Liberation Sans', bold and 18pt. You may also change 'Indents & Spacing' to indent 0.2" before text. Again, you will see that this is applied to the whole document.

For table of content, you simply insert two manual page breaks before the second page (Insert->Manual Break). Put the cursor on the empty second page and select 'Insert->Indexes and Tables->Indexes and Tables...'. The thing you may want to change is the Evaluate up to level 2. Click 'OK' and you have a beautiful toc. Note, however, each time you make changes to the document, you have to update the toc by hand, simply right-click on it and select 'Update Index/Table'.

As for footer, to add a page number, click on the footer, then select 'Insert->Fields->Page Number', to change the alignment, simply click on the alignment button, or use right-click 'Alignment'. In the header we want to add the chapter name. Click on the header, select 'Insert->Fields->Other...' and pick Chapter and 'Chapter name'.

To make the first page a title page, click on the first page, then select 'Format->Title Page...'. Here you can change some of its properties, and at the bottom you can edit the page properties. Do this and tell it to not use page number on this page (set Format to None).

If you like to distinguish between left and right pages, pick one of the white pages (not the table of content). Open again the Styles and Formatting window and click on the icon 'Page Styles'. As you click on different pages, the 'Default' or 'First Page' or similar should highlight. It is basically telling you which style the currently selected page has. You can modify the style of the currently selected page by double-clicking. For our example pick like page 5, and double click on 'Right Page'. As you will notice, all pages get changed, alternating between left and right. Now if in the Styles and Formating window you right-click, let's say on Right Page, you can modify its style, including its header and footer. This way left pages and right pages can have different headers and footers.

Note, that when using left and right pages, the formatting for the first page partially disappears.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Facebook is setup: SocialWebClass

Today, two milestones were reached: the Facebook page is up and running (SocialWebClass) and I am basically finished with half of my lecture notes. Two more weeks until class starts, that should be plenty to finish the rest.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wikibook: Social Web

I started the class project/wikibook 'Social Web'. The idea is similar to my previous project 'Game Creation with XNA': Setup a framework and have students, in a collaborative effort, expand and extend the ideas suggested. This way the students are encouraged to contribute to the web, not only consume. I was also looking into Wikiversity, but at the moment I can not see how this can be useful. If they would just setup a Moodle type environment, I think it would be much more useful.

Also saw two very nice TED talks: Howard Rheingold's 'The new power of collaboration' and Rachel Botsman's 'The case for collaborative consumption', both are quite relevant for this class.