“Writing Effective Research and Technical Reports” was my first project with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Working with Pam and Linda I updated their website and developed an eBook. The purpose of both is to help students produce research reports that are accessible to a wider audience to improve decision-making. The original website (see Figure 1) was made in a flash-based site and caused some accessibility problems in different browsers.
Pam, Linda, and I met every three weeks to discuss contents and layout in the new site (see Figure 2).
As we started recreating the website, we discussed several tools for easy content creation and management.
We decided to use WordPress which included multiple templates and plugins to build the new site because it is free and easy to manage each page in the dashboard (see Figure 3).
While students can use the contents on the website, they can also download the eBook and save it into their mobile devices or tablets. Rather than using commercial-based tools, we decided to use iBooks Author which is a free tool to create an eBook. iBooks Author provides a variety of templates for users to adopt (see Figure 4).
Our eBook is in ePub format (ebook format) that allows us to read contents in most devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers, or e-reader.Users can also use Widget to insert different multimedia files into eBook. Widget in the iBooks Author includes picture gallery, media, HTML (see Figure 5). In addition to considering how to deliver the content, we thought about how to give the reader an experience similar to reading a physical book.
Now, the new site and the eBook are available for students to explore and download. Though initially developed for graduate research and analytics students, the site and eBook are appropriate for any students or professionals who want to create technically sophisticated, but plain English reports to increase the impact of research and technical reports.