Content and code management – tooling

Today I spoke to the team about how we might explore the use of a tool/service that allows us to easily store, manage and share regularly used content and/or code snippets.

I was really interested in hearing from them if exploring the use of tools/service is something worth doing? Remembering this is not so much about creating cookie-cutter courses (because they’re all individual and unique), but more about creating readily reusable code that forms the foundation.

An example – while the set of Arts translation and interpreting courses are based on a template for their structure, there’s still a large number of frequently used elements (call-out boxes, buttons, accordions etc) that would benefit from their code, CSS and event instructional copy being stored in a readily available single source.

What we do now

I think we currently store our HTML and CSS in a variety of places e.g., google docs, google sheets and homebrew tools e.g., Velma, Wanda, Dennis, Terry, Justin, Gordon, Valerie, Bruce or Pam. We store our instructional copy in our storyboards because it’s usually heavily intertwined with the content (and is developed at different stages of the production pipeline and features contributions from outside the team) – I’m being careful not to conflate the two.

Doing this isn’t necessarily a problem but is it the most efficient way? How might we use more tools like:

Dreamweaver (and it’s snippets feature to reuse code chunks across “sites” i.e., courses) – this software is available to us through our Monash Creative Cloud subscription – using Dreamweaver means we can also make use of the visual tools to generate/edit HTML if you didn’t want to do it by hand with a text editor/.

A private repo on GitHub – how might we all have access to the single source and most current code chunks by storing these elements on a private repo – we have access to this with our yearly subscription to GitHub (this is where all of the course content for the data science microcredential is stored).

We could use Dreamweaver in tandem with Github, or not at all – we could continue to code all HTML and CSS by hand then store on Github. Snippets of instructional copy could also be managed in this way – I can’t be the only person that has frequently used phrases or FUPs as I sometimes like to call them, right?

Another approach is creating our own BEAST (like the team from the Faculty of Education), an online code generator like the team in Arts have – how might that help?

Is it possible to create a library of assets/elements in Moodle Workplace that we can then import/load in individually as required in a course?

Why do this?

My reasoning behind this is that there must be ways for us to increase efficiency of writing (instructional copy) and authoring our courses (using HTML, CSS and instructional copy) in the platform (Moodle), particularly those that are a set of courses with an established styles e.g., Arts T&I, or even the Business Exec Courses – repurposing these elements may be one way of achieving this, maybe.

What do you think – yeah, nah?

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