Tips: Preparing New Vision Notebooks


1. Work from a skeleton.

Many instructors find it useful to prepare a skeleton set of notes before class, while leaving many blanks. These blanks can be filled in by the moderator, the participants, or both as the class unfolds – based on participant input. The skeleton provides structure, but participant input provides interactivity. If working from PowerPoint slides that are imported into DyKnow Vision, consider deleting some of the slide content prior to class. This allows content to be added on the fly after giving participants a chance to think about what is missing.

2. Use Private Ink to prepare material in advance.

The moderator has access to a special (purple) ink color called Private Ink. Private comments can be added to the notebook in Private Ink prior to class. Private Ink will show up if the notebook is printed, but will be stripped out when the notebook is used as prepared notes during class. 

3. Use answer boxes, margins, or other conventions to suggest places for students to write.

As the moderator, the toolbar has a special tool called an Answer Box. Essentially, this is a rectangular region bounded by dashed lines. The answer box has no inherent functionality, but it can be used to suggest, "Here is a place where I want you to fill in some work." Participants will quickly get used to writing in these boxes; this can greatly alleviate the problem of the instructor later overwriting the participants work. Other similar techniques for avoiding collisions include leaving a margin at the side or bottom of the page, using footnotes, or suggesting that participants open a new notebook for additional annotations. 

4. Take advantage of Undo when preparing notes out of session.

When preparing notes outside of a session, Vision’s undo feature can help to quickly correct mistakes. Don't forget to remove the panel history before using the notebook in class (see tip #7). 

5. Span two pages for problem solving.

For problems with long specifications and/or long answers, it can be useful to write a problem statement on one panel, and leave space for participant responses on the next panel. Then front display can be positioned so that it shows the problem statement while the participants can move their own displays to the panel where they will write their answers. By looking to the front of the room the participants can read the question, and they can work on their answer without having to scroll back and forth. 

6. Progressive disclosure allows displaying answers after participants think.

Develop a sequence of panels in which the first panel asks the participant to answer a question, define a term, list issues, or solve a problem. After the participants have worked on the first panel independently or in small groups, bring in the second panel. This latter panel can contain a model solution to the problem, or can contain a skeleton on which a model solution is developed based on class input.

In one variation of this, the first panel could contain a quiz question. After letting the participants work on the quiz, panel management can be used to collect answers from everyone. Then a second panel containing a sample solution to the quiz can be displayed and can be reviewed. Participants are free to make changes to their original answers since the answers have already been collected. After class, participant work can be graded and returned via Vision. The next time participants sign on, their graded work will be available to them. 

7. Remove panel history when correcting mistakes.

While preparing content before class, all edits made to a DyKnow notebook can be replayed by the moderator or the participants at a later time. While this is often useful, there may be some times when a panel's history should not be replayed. To remove panel history, select 'Edit > Remove Panel History' from the file menu. The panel can still be replayed, but objects that have been deleted will no longer be part of the panel's history. Removing the panel history from heavily edited panels can also cut down on the size of notebooks.

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