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Nature Boy

Debate Camps And Paperless/paperless Issues

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By this point, a good majority of camps have switched to paperless or offer a paperless option. As a paperless coach and the author of the debateOS Template (LibreOffice/Open Office macros + template) I'm curious what templates or template updates camps are using. Converting Open Evidence Project files to the template and other compatibility issues have been a huge hurdle in high school paperless debate, it seems.

 

If you use Synergy (student or as a camp director/lab leader) what are the styles used? Has it been updated to be in line with the Open Paperless Project standards? The following are the standards already incorporated into Verbatim (whitman) 4.0 and currently being tested with the debateOS Template. So far LibreOffice has been able to make use of Word .docx files formatted properly without a problem, although the Tag heading level has not been added for the macro functions, yet.

  • Pocket = Heading 1
  • Hat = Heading 2
  • Block Title = Heading 3
  • Tag = Heading 4

No more custom styles with linked style types, etc. Instead, customizing the Heading styles, themselves, to meet your own teams font and style choices improves and simplifies compatibility and other issues greatly.

 

What other template and template styles are there? I know there were some heinous templates that camps were using last year. From my file conversions to Open Office file formats I can think of at least 4, maybe 5 templates with their own custom style names that caused huge compatibility issues and took a very long time to convert. Hoping that the new standards can get incorporated as much as possible before camps start, this summer.

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The problem is not that camps aren't using a template it's just that a lot of kids at camps don't have file cutting experience. They have no concept of the use of a template and their formatting is pretty bad. Unless a lab leader corrects all of this you just get some files that are badly formatted. It is a question of execution of what is in the template/

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Then the question and issue that arises is, why aren't camps teaching proper paperless practices to those who are new to it? Presumably they have had ways of teaching kids how to cut paper and tape it to other pieces of paper in a preferred format, why is it necessarily different to teach and require a specified paperless format for debate camps?

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Good question, Nature Boy.

 

There were certainly no formatting issues in the paper era! No one ever:

 

-- taped down cards with shiny tape

-- pre-underlined with magic marker

-- highlighted prior to copy runs

-- let cards hang off the page, assuming the copy staff would "fix it"

 

None of these problems ever occurred hundreds upon hundreds of times. Camp instructors' failure to immediately become aware of your much-vaunted Debate Libre template and mandate it across the nation is thus clearly an egregious breakdown in pedagogy.

 

Thank you for bringing this to our collective attention!

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Good question, Nature Boy.

 

There were certainly no formatting issues in the paper era! No one ever:

 

-- taped down cards with shiny tape

-- pre-underlined with magic marker

-- highlighted prior to copy runs

-- let cards hang off the page, assuming the copy staff would "fix it"

 

None of these problems ever occurred hundreds upon hundreds of times. Camp instructors' failure to immediately become aware of your much-vaunted Debate Libre template and mandate it across the nation is thus clearly an egregious breakdown in pedagogy.

 

Thank you for bringing this to our collective attention!

 

Sure, this happened with paper, but the files were still, mostly, useable. Not using a standardized set of template set-ups breaks down the programming/system and prevents all usability. I'm not promoting just the LibreOffice macros, but the idea that all templates should attempt to adhere to an open standard so that they are compatible with the paperless programming options out there. I found something like 5 or 6 different templates with their own custom styles and custom style names, all for the same things (hats, blocks, tags, cites, cards). Everyone's paperless problems would be significantly reduced if, instead, everyone adhered to the same standard. Using the same Applied Styles does not prevent you from customizing the styles however you want to.

 

In my case, since I am currently updating the macros and template for LibreOffice, specifically to make it compatible with as many debate camps and templates as possible, I'm not sure I see the problem with asking for issues people are facing with paperless or for offering up my alternative as open for testing and input.

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Sure, this happened with paper, but the files were still, mostly, useable. Not using a standardized set of template set-ups breaks down the programming/system and prevents all usability.

 

They were often unusable, and retreiving data from screwed up paper was impossible. Retreiving data from screwed up paperless word files is often easy.

 

I'm not promoting just the LibreOffice macros, but the idea that all templates should attempt to adhere to an open standard so that they are compatible with the paperless programming options out there. I found something like 5 or 6 different templates with their own custom styles and custom style names, all for the same things (hats, blocks, tags, cites, cards). Everyone's paperless problems would be significantly reduced if, instead, everyone adhered to the same standard. Using the same Applied Styles does not prevent you from customizing the styles however you want to.

 

Fair enough. A careless reader such as myself might have read this as a harangue. That's especially true when you say that everyone should "use proper paperless practices" - which is a far cry from "establish universal paperless practices."

 

In my case, since I am currently updating the macros and template for LibreOffice, specifically to make it compatible with as many debate camps and templates as possible, I'm not sure I see the problem with asking for issues people are facing with paperless or for offering up my alternative as open for testing and input.

 

I agree. I don't think that there is a problem with that.

 

The implication that file distribution and standardization is declining, however, is drastically incorrect. The idea that there's such a thing as "proper paperless practice" yet is also probably incorrect. You may underestimate some of the barriers to establishing universal practices among a set of both harried and competitive individuals.

 

Finally, I think that it's a mistake to presume that the most relevant people will find your post in a subforum of high school camp forum. College camp administrators generally use this board for advertising, not to study up on their craft. I'd strongly suggest using cedaforums to reach your target audience on this particular issue.

 

Cheers!

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I am a die-hard user of the Hoya Template (Georgetown version of Synergy). I run it on my Mac by booting into Windows — it gives me a more focused environment for card-cutting where I only have Word, Excel, Dropbox, and Firefox installed. I've tried the Verbatim template, among others, and to me nothing beats the integration with Word, and not having fussy toolbars to move around. Anyways, I agree that I'd like standardized styles to happen. I hate opening an Open Evidence file and suddenly having 30 new duplicate styles added to my formatting bar... it becomes a nightmare to use, especially for someone as OCD as I am.

 

To that end, I would suggest a. posting in cedaforums as Antonucci suggested, so that more camp directors are aware of this, and b. contacting Gulakov to see if he can implement the Heading feature, or at least a standard pocket-hat-blog-tag-underline format.

 

I'd love for standardized styles to happen.

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The reason I'm farming the cross-x forum over the CEDA forum is that I've gotten most, if not all, the feedback I need from the college debating community for this update. debateOS template had a version of Pocket before Verbatim because of a request Gonzaga debaters had about files, controlling files, and file structure, for example.

 

In the cross-x forums I typically have people who have recently gone through or are struggling with paperless issues. Most of the people who have written paperless software, myself included, grew up learning tech literacy differently than high schoolers, today. If there are certain things kids keep customizing similarly that is different than the way paperless systems work, I want to look into that. For example, there are plenty of default macros that come attached to Windows, OS X and Linux OSes, now. A lot of the keyboard shortcuts for paperless seem to be in conflict with the F1-12 row on laptops where you must type FN in order for the F1-12 keys to work.

 

While I the goal is a good, compatible template system, it also aims to make learning and teaching the template easier to do and have a larger formal element involved. Many coaches don't go paperless or have a method and plan to teach/coach paperless because of all the templates out there, how they break, and because they don't know how to teach such a piecemeal set of systems.

 

As a high school coach that starts novices out with paperless, figuring out fast and efficient methods for teaching paperless is a priority, for me. Figuring out what camps use custom settings vs. default applied settings is also important to me because I will tend to keep my debaters out of those camps that are using custom styles.

 

Put it this way, when camps were doing paper files predominantly, I would send my kids to camps based on quality of lab leaders and evidence expected to be produced by students, labs, etc. Some camps were well known for having terrible formatting and we tended to stay away from them or their files. Pre-NDCA Open Ev we would simply not order or trade for those files. I see paperless as much the same beast to deal with at this stage in the game.

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The reason I'm farming the cross-x forum over the CEDA forum is that I've gotten most, if not all, the feedback I need from the college debating community for this update. debateOS template had a version of Pocket before Verbatim because of a request Gonzaga debaters had about files, controlling files, and file structure, for example.

 

In the cross-x forums I typically have people who have recently gone through or are struggling with paperless issues. Most of the people who have written paperless software, myself included, grew up learning tech literacy differently than high schoolers, today. If there are certain things kids keep customizing similarly that is different than the way paperless systems work, I want to look into that. For example, there are plenty of default macros that come attached to Windows, OS X and Linux OSes, now. A lot of the keyboard shortcuts for paperless seem to be in conflict with the F1-12 row on laptops where you must type FN in order for the F1-12 keys to work.

 

While I the goal is a good, compatible template system, it also aims to make learning and teaching the template easier to do and have a larger formal element involved. Many coaches don't go paperless or have a method and plan to teach/coach paperless because of all the templates out there, how they break, and because they don't know how to teach such a piecemeal set of systems.

 

As a high school coach that starts novices out with paperless, figuring out fast and efficient methods for teaching paperless is a priority, for me. Figuring out what camps use custom settings vs. default applied settings is also important to me because I will tend to keep my debaters out of those camps that are using custom styles.

 

Put it this way, when camps were doing paper files predominantly, I would send my kids to camps based on quality of lab leaders and evidence expected to be produced by students, labs, etc. Some camps were well known for having terrible formatting and we tended to stay away from them or their files. Pre-NDCA Open Ev we would simply not order or trade for those files. I see paperless as much the same beast to deal with at this stage in the game.

 

That was long.

 

You can post in multiple forums.

 

Very few, if any, people running camps will see your post, so it's a very ineffective way to convince camp administrators to change policy.

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