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Find out how to document

Labs have the responsibility to create the documentation of a set of activities that they have run and find a relevant way to tell the stories and share learning materials so future labs could understand, replicate and customize their future activities. In the fab lab community, documenting is one of the core skills acquired in the academies and is embedded in the practice of fab students and gurus. The following recommendations have been inspired by this mindset:

Think about documentation at the planning stage While in other processes, documentation arrives at the end, here, the process starts even before running the activities. Each lab needs to ask themselves about their replication strategies so as to create communication materials that could support the documentation. It is about taking pictures, creating pedagogical supports, recording, capturing the process and lessons learned.

Be inspired by the activity canvas and the documentation template to document In the case of shemakes learning paths, the documentation template provided by WP leader aimed at supporting labs in integrating the various elements to prepare, run and document their activities.

Define which tutorial(s) you will document for the handbook Only original and innovative practice is worth being integrated into the handbook. By dialoguing with other labs, each lab could select a bunch of tutorials they could create from the activities they have run.

Produce-update the documentation This step consists in filling out the documentation template. According to labs’ preferences, the documentation could be done in a word document internally shared or integrated directly via Gitlab in the handbook.

Opt for nice visuals and design pedagogical flyers for participants Shemakes WP2 team has proposed to make custom flyers for each tutorial so as to gain visibility and facilitate a better appropriation for the transfer labs and especially for the future participants in shemakes workshop. The recommended format is printable A3 foldable with the core information to replicate the activity from the context definition to the recipe. In Figure X, you can see an example of the flyers designed by IAAC for Biomaterial design.

Peer-review process To improve the quality of the content, the labs will set up a peer-review process so each documentation created could be revised and improved thanks to the review of another lab. The reviewer will check if all key information is present, and give some advice for improvement. A first review process will be engaged from October until the integration of the transfer labs. Then, with the feedback from the latter that will have the opportunity to test the tutorials, some improvements could be suggested and incremented directly via GITLAB.

Dive into Gitlab and join the team of committers. If labs are novice and interested in joining the gitlab community, tutorials have been made available by the Fabricademy team to help them. They can take a look, try and share the bugs within the shemakes ecosystem. Here the tutorial: http://fabricademy.fabcloud.io/gitlab-documentation-tutorial/.

Disseminate widely The documentation presented in the handbook is a common base that could serve other communication purposes. It will be a great interface for the communication team to create contents for the web page, especially the learning sections but also for social media.


Last update: January 6, 2022