Sunday, 15 September 2013

A playlist of short intro to LaTeX videos using the cloud based writeLaTeX.com

I've just finished screencasting, editing and uploading 21 videos to a playlist on +YouTube.

Quite frankly I'm exhausted (I started this morning), it's been a long day and I'll be happy to not have to drag another 'Ken Burns' effect boundary box around for quite a while...

Anyway, the videos are for a new course I'm teaching our +Cardiff University first year undergraduates. LaTeX has never actually been on the curriculum before and I'm throwing it in at the end of a long term (where students will mostly be learning Python and +Sage Mathematical Software System).

There are a bunch of really really great LaTeX tutorials all over the web but I thought I'd put together really short videos (the longest is around the 4 minute mark but all the others are less than 2 minutes) that just show syntax. By watching these videos no one will be a LaTeX expert (that's where the other tutorials come in).

The other particularity of these videos is that I've done them entirely using +writeLaTeX (https://www.writelatex.com/) which is a great cloud based LaTeX environment. If you don't know about writeLaTeX take a look at this great video by +John Hammersley (1 of the guys behind +writeLaTeX):


The great advantage of writeLaTeX is that I can include 2 links in the description of every video I've put together:

1. A link that creates a blank document so that anyone watching my video can right then and there try out the code.
2. A 'read only' link to the actual document I used during the video. Once this document is being viewed anyone can choose to make a copy of it so that they can play with the actual finished article.

For example: here's the video showing how to include inline mathematics:


1. Here's the link to a blank document.
2. Here's the link to the code created in the video. On the top right of that document you should see this link (which allows you to create your own copy that you can edit):


I'm hoping this will all be quite helpful to my students and in particular encourage the use of LaTeX by removing certain difficulties that some have with the installation process.

I'm also making these videos public in case they might be helpful to others (a large chunk of the videos I've put together for the programming aspects of this course are 'Unlisted' as I don't think they'd interest anyone).

Anyway the whole playlist can be found here.

There are a couple of other cloud based LaTeX environments out there (sorry for mentioning them here +John Hammersley!) including the 1 that is a part of the ridiculously awesome https://cloud.sagemath.com/. At the moment though, the user friendliness and amazing response to users (on G+ +writeLaTeX are extremely helpful) makes this an ideal tool for learning LaTeX.