Thursday, December 1, 2016

LaTeXing Lecture Notes

I've been working hard the past 2.5 years teaching a bunch of new courses and improving old courses.  One of the things that's helped a ton is converting hand-written lecture notes into LaTeX. 

Many years ago, I started working on a style file to add a bunch of commands for lecture notes.  Most important, I created a question command to facilitate Socratic-style lectures.  I later modified this so that I could set a flag indicating that the output was for students.  Then it would hide the answers to those questions.  I started posting these versions online for students.

I've been adding stuff to this, but recently really wished I could add exercises that would put all the answers in an appendix, but hide those answers in the student version.  I recently discovered the exercise package (thanks, Stack Exchange) which can do this automatically.  Using that, I updated my style file, and recently posted the code on GitHub.  (If you're not familiar with GitHub, I made my own landing page.)

I find that it's really convenient to teach from the pdfs on a tablet, and it saves me tons of paper.  The only issue is that it's a bit more difficult to make notes on the pdfs than with a regular pen and paper.

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