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About me

Self presentation

I am Michael Whapples and I will be leading the LaTeX workshop. So a brief introduction of myself and a little about some of my workshop.

At the moment I am studying for a postgraduate diploma in software development with the Open University here in the UK. I am blind and had previously studied physics at the university of Nottingham. While I was there I came across the issue of how to access written materials, both writing and reading, particularly when there is mathematical notation involved. Now many of the materials produced internally were prepared using LaTeX (refer to for more detail on LaTeX) and I had heard people mention that it is written using plain text. For this reason LaTeX seemed a good solution for me to try and deal with written material. While it solved a number of issues I did feel it was slightly hard to learn, having come from the WYSIWYG editor environments of Microsoft Word and similar tools.

Its due to my experiences which make me want to assist those who wish to study technical subjects to actually be able to. As learning LaTeX seems to be one of the biggest hurdles in using LaTeX I plan the workshop to help introduce students to LaTeX. As LaTeX is so extensive in what it is able to produce, I don't intend to cover everything which can be done with LaTeX. I have two hopes for the workshop: It will provide the students with a basic understanding of LaTeX so that when they read more advanced documents on LaTeX then they will be able to understand what is being said. The other aim is to cover some parts of LaTeX and third party packages which may be of particular interest to students.

As my second aim may differ from student to student, I had initially planned to prepare for more topics than could be discussed and then see what direction students want to go with specific examples of what LaTeX can do. Now as there is a chance for students to express views beforehand, I am open for responses to this message.

Here is a brief list of topics I was thinking of: Document structure, mathematics notation (if you have any particular you wish to be covered please state), tables, creating a presentation (a replacement for powerpoint with the power of LaTeX), inserting graphics, using bibtex for bibliographies, creating new commands to reduce typing and various output formats (eg. create PDF or HTML).

I am willing to answer questions you may have and I look forward to any feedback on what would be of particular interest in the workshop.

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Michael Whapples
Postgraduate student in software development
Work or study place
Open University, UK


Member for
7 years 3 months