Instructional design toolkit: Markdown


To be a power user of Carmen (or any LMS), WordPress (U.OSU), the web in general, or e-learning authors (such as Softchalk), you have to do some HTML.

If you’re new to HTML, intimidated by HTML, or just a little bit lazy (like me), you have a friend in Markdown. It’s a sort of HTML Lite language, an easy way to write your content in just a text editor, and you can convert it to full-blown HTML when you’re done.

For example, you can write a bulleted list like this:

- This is a list
- It's just using hyphens and spaces
- It's pretty low key

And then it’s smart enough to convert that to this nice clean HTML, which you can paste into your web page:

<li>This is a list</li>
<li>It's just using hyphens and spaces</li>
<li>It's pretty low key</li>

Markdown has easy-to-type, easy-to-remember ways of doing just about every basic HTML thing you’d need. Many cheat sheets are around. It’s easy to learn, lightweight (uses text files), and it’s a perfect way to dip your toe into HTML.

Many Markdown apps (which are tiny and usually free) will give you a preview pane that shows how your code would look on a web page. My Mac recommendation is Mou, and there are a slew great options for Windows, iOS, and Android.

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