Experiences with Documentation

I had never done documentation before. Maybe I did it indirectly but it was not professional. The only good work I can recall is providing steps for installation and operation of some programs such as the functionality of ODK aggregate using Google app Engine and SDK platform.

Over the last week, I have been preparing documentation on User Controls and R Syntax Class for the African Data Initiative project. User controls are user defined form controls which can be added to tool box and using them ensure consistency in form design and quality. Some of User controls that we managed to come up with are: Data Selector and Data Selector Add Remove-for loading variables from the columns whenever data is loaded, Data Receiver- this included three set of receivers namely,: Single Receivers, Multiple Receiver and Receiver which inherited the properties of either multiple receiver or Single Receiver and lastly, the Base buttons controls of the Dialogs and sub dialogs. R Syntax Class is set of code the enabled the writing of R functions in the Visual Studio easier to the front end designers.

I must say I did not do a lot for the start since I had just provided the description of the User controls and R Syntax class and the steps involved in their implementation.

As usual, I had to present this to the ADI team and received all forms of criticism which I termed it positive criticism. Some discussions were done and this was a learning process to me.

Improvement after Discussions:

We managed to come up with the tables of contents for the whole body using word designer.

A good introduction which entailed the background was implemented.

The working example of both User Controls and R syntax class were included in the documentation

We also managed to come up with further work on User controls which entailed inclusionof factor when designing data receivers

And lastly, we managed to come up with a good conclusion and agreed even to come with text file for good online documentation


This was a very exciting exercise and I learned on how to deliver and at the same time learn a lot from the project. I would like to carry on with this exercise in future.


The Power of Prezi and Beamer

Presentation skills are key for the success of any seminar, conference and even passing knowledge in any educational system. Good presentation skills enable better learning and also, can build recognition for the presenter. But skills alone cannot make your presentation outstanding.

I have been having a series of presentation for the last four weeks and it was very evident that the presentation can be planned for or impromptu.

Maybe, to make my argument very strong, let me take you through some of the tools that can make your presentation colorful and leave the audience amazed. First, I would like to start with PowerPoint. This is a Microsoft package that enables one organizes his ideas in form of good looking slides. It also provides the presenter with opportunity to animate the presentation. Secondly, Beamer is another tool that is mostly used by scientists.  I understand this is not a vocabulary to those guys who have used Latex before. Lastly, I would like to base my arguments on Prezi.

I have only used Prezi twice despite doing several presentations. My first presentation in a series was at African Institute of Mathematical Sciences, where I presented about African Data Initiative and I used PowerPoint. The second one was on Open Data Kit, A digital application for collecting and managing data. This training was also conducted at the same institution with Maxwell and I being the facilitators. But my stay at AIMS attracted me to learn Latex since I attended several presentations on Statistics and Entrepreneurship and I can tell you for free that Beamer was the only powerful tool being used. My last presentation at AIMS was impromptu since I was just called upon to brief the students and Lecturers the progress of New Instat development. This was an easy task since I am actively involved in the development of this new Statistical tool that is running Instat in the Front End and R at the Back End.

When I came back to Kenya, The team was given a task to present to the CLIMSOT team at SUNSET Hotel in Kisumu. And here Prezi came in. I was given a task of designing the presentation using Prezi, a powerful tool. I had used Prezi before but I was not quite efficient in using it. So, Patrick Njoroge, a colleague at AMI had to come in with Support of David Stern which led to the designing of a very wonderful presentation.

From my argument, it is very clear that the tool you use for presentation matters a lot. If I may asked to select one I might be indifferent. And so the choice depends with the skills of the presenter though Prezi and Beamer seem to more superior if you may allow me to rank them.

Lastly, the preparation and research on the topic also counts. Doing a mock presentation and getting critics from your colleagues help to boost your actual presentation