Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 4: Things that Work

Today was the most successful day training yet. First day that I could walk out of the room knowing that the folks I taught today had at least a fighting chance of being able to work with Vignette when they returned to their desk.

A few elements that seemed to make a difference:

- Introducing certain concepts early. Most importantly
+ Content / Project / Where you store your stuff (like the My Documents folder on your PC)
+ Site / Channel / Where you see your stuff on the website.

I didn't realize the whole concept of "channeling your content" was so foreign. Introducing this concept early AND repeating it often made a HUGE difference.

- Being more careful about context.
+ WHY you would start using the Preview site. (The preview site is best for editing or changing pre-existing material)
+ WHY you would start your content using your newly created Project folder. (Fantastic for creating material, even if you don't know where it goes yet. A situation sadly faced by many of our content contributors.).
+ WHY you would assign a channel. (Mostly for the situation when you have content, but didn't know where to put it).

Repeat early AND often. Now that I have a better understanding of how Vignette works within the framework of content development, I am finding it easier to explain why you would use one workflow over another. Remember, I am only a few steps ahead of my students in learning this application. If I hadn't done web development work before, I would have been in really deep doo doo in the first few days.

- Oh yeah, and did I say repetition of key concepts.....Today was a fantastic illustration of the power of repetition. It's like I couldn't talk about certain things ENOUGH.

It also helped that this was the fastest and most reliable that the system has been since I started the training. At this point, the technical issues I am encountering are more the result of hardware issues in our classroom rather than the application. We are replacing all of the PCs in our classrooms over the next month - so I can live with hardware hiccups. Especially if I have a few more computers than I need.

On the student side, the OTHER reason why today worked is that the students were able to actually take advantage of the workshop time we gave them.

Wow! I feel SOOO much better. I actually see PROGRESS!! I think we have a fighting chance of getting everything done!


Saw some of the same comments from the main content contributor in the first class. And he had more technical issues to struggle through.

It was good to have a day that validated my work. I was beginning to fear that the training portion was going to be a complete bust.

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