Writing a course outline with Scrivener

I’ve had Scrivener for some time, and played around with it, but not very seriously. In the last week I decided to use it as the primary tool for developing 3 course outlines for faculty of education courses I’m teaching this fall. In the past, I would’ve used Microsoft Word.

My subjective appraisal is that using Scrivener reduced the amount of development time by about 50% and allowed me, through the outline like environment, to try variations of lesson sequences and make revisions easily and quickly.

My workflow involved the following:

  1. Saving a course outline template provided by the University in word format as an rtf file.

  2. Importing that file into Scrivener and splitting the pieces to match the numbered sections in the course outline. This meant that I did not have to type any of the boilerplate text that is standard to all course outlines. I even used Scrivener tables to describe specific components of my course. There were a few problems until I discovered that adding a blank row to the bottom of a table cleared up some issues with navigating text in the table, selecting text and moving the cursor to where I wanted it.

  3. Developing the course outline in Scrivener.

  4. Compiling the Scrivener version of the course outline as an rtf file.

  5. Opening that file in Word and cleaning up the formatting to produce the final document.That meant removing extraneous blank lines; adjusting the gridlines in the tables; and figuring out how deal with some text that somehow got bulleted in the conversion.

As an added bonus, I was able to use DragonDictate on my Mac to dictate a good portion of the text and this forum entry. The newest version of their software seems quite speedy and bug free. :slight_smile: