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LaTeX for the Win

I had a good conversation with Tom over weekend about my thinking for my new course. We talked about the structure of the course, using the Software Carpentry lesson template for approaching the technical training aspect, and how the experience I've had helping students manage projects in the writing class will probably be apropos in this class.

"How are you going to have students manage their manuscripts?" Tom asked.

Years ago, I had showed Tom how to get started with LaTeX which he used to great effect in graduate school. He had suggested I use it with the students in my writing class, but I had declined, since I felt the learning curve would be too steep. But this class is different: I'm going to be pressing students to learn to use the command line, to write code, and to manage their projects using git. Building their thesis using LaTeX just seems like a natural extension at that point.

Tom pointed out that CS has a LaTeX template for submitting a thesis to the graduate school. I still need to check with some of the departments (like Math and Astronomy) that are almost certainly already using TeX for honors theses. And it's yet another domain I'll need to spend some time getting back up to speed with. But it's a good idea and should be a lot of fun.