[OS X TeX] Getting students to use LaTeX (and apa.cls)

Simon Spiegel simon at simifilm.ch
Fri Aug 18 13:23:17 CEST 2006

On 18.08.2006, at 12:10, @ Rocteur CC wrote:

> On 17 Aug 2006, at 18:30, Niels Kobschaetzki wrote:
>> On 8/17/06, Michael Kubovy <kubovy at virginia.edu> wrote:
>>> Dear MacOSXTeXans,
>>> On Aug 17, 2006, at 1:10 AM, John Vokey wrote:
>>> > As Michael noted, there is apa.cls, but it needs apacite.bst or
>>> > apacitex.bst to produce apa-like references (either can be used
>>> > independently of apa.cls, although I recommend the combo: if you
>>> > use apa.cls, you do not have to call apacite with
>>> > \bibliogreaphystyle{}, as it does that for you).  apa.cls produces
>>> > virtually perfect APA documents in three modes: `jou': reproduces
>>> > the journal output in amazing JEP:X fidelity, `doc' produces your
>>> > document in a single-column format more useful for distributing to
>>> > colleagues and co-authors for commenting and editing, and `man'
>>> > format faithfully (well, better than anything else that I have
>>> > seen) reproduces every flipping stupid APA rule you can imagine,
>>> > and many you probably didn't even know for journal submission.
>>> > apacite sometimes, but rarely, requires some tweaking to get
>>> > obscure referencing types to type-set correctly, but these are all
>>> > well-documented in the manual.  I have a template for apa.cls that
>>> > sets out much of the format for you (read, you probably won't have
>>> > to read the manual to use it successfully).  Just drop it in your
>>> > TeXShop templates folder.  Write me if you are interested.  I  
>>> don't
>>> > let my students use anything else (and, in the bargain, they don't
>>> > have to learn APA format: LaTeX takes care of that for them, as it
>>> > should).
>>> I concur with John's assessment of apa.cls.
>>> Your write "I don't let my students use anything else". Do you  
>>> impose
>>> this on students working in your lab, or students in a course? If  
>>> the
>>> latter, are these grad students? How do you persuade them to do
>>> what's best for them and abandon the deeply ingrained MSW habit?
>>> It might be useful for people on the list to see your template. I  
>>> for
>>> one would.
>> I would be more interested how I could convince my not so tech-savvy
>> lecturers that using LaTeX is a good thing and that some of their  
>> guidelines
>> for papers don't work well with LaTeX...
>> Niels
> I believe the big POINT for anyone, not just non tech-savvy people  
> is the NON WYSIWYG phobia.

This and the fact that many people simply don't know that there are  
alternatives to Word. IME for many people writing texts equals MS  
Word, and they're often astonished to hear that there other and maybe  
even better ways to achieve what they want.

It probably depends on the document you write, but IME it's pretty  
easy to convert someone to LaTeX once he got frustrated enough with  
Word. I've done it with several people (one of them not all tech- 
savy) who were in different stages of their theses (is that the  
correct plural form)? Changing to LaTeX was pretty painless and none  
of the regretted it.


Simon Spiegel
Steinhaldenstr. 50
8002 Zürich

Telephon: ++41 44 451 5334
Mobophon: ++41 76 459 60 39


"In a world getting more and more democratic, film directing is the last
resort for dictators." Francis Ford Coppola

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