Leicester Medical School

Creating a unit workbook for use on iPads

Unit workbooks, handbooks and other text-based learning materials for use with iPads are essentially Word documents saved as PDF documents, then shared out to students through the virtual learning environment (VLE), Blackboard. Through accessing Blackboard on their iPads, students download the file onto the iPad. Then, using a PDF annotator app such as Notability, students can type or handwrite their own notes directly onto these materials, organise them, and store them in the cloud for safekeeping and access anywhere. Also, all hyperlinks in the workbook will remain live in Notability. You can include live links to resources -- ebooks in the UoL Library, YouTube videos, websites -- and when students are working with the workbook in Notability they will be able to view your linked material with one click.

How to create your workbook and what to include

We suggest that you set up your unit workbook in a 2-up page format, in that pages are side by side. You will also need the University logo in the upper left of the first page. This clean Word template (Word docx., 48.5kb) has a 2-up page format, logo, and styles (heading1, heading 2, body, etc.) suitable for workbooks. This draft Body Logistics Workbook (Word docx., 89.4kb) demonstrates how the workbook may be put together and can also be downloaded. Elements to include in your workbook are:

  • Staff information
  • Unit timetable with session titles
  • Unit learning objectives
  • Recommended reading and resources
    • If only available as a paper book in the university library, you may wish to include a link to the library's online catalog reference for the book, so that students may reserve a copy
    • If available as an online ebook in the university library, you may wish to link to that. "Linking to University Library resources" gives further details on this topic.
  • Session teaching material
    • Any pre-work
    • Lecture topic and scope (less wordy, in keeping with new curriculum philosophy)
    • Group work questions with spaces for students to write responses

A Table of Contents created by Word will be of great help to students

The Word template linked to this page uses 'styles.' If you use these styles, when you are done creating your workbook, you can let Word automatically create a table of contents. Even when your workbook is exported as a pdf and used by students in the Notability app, they will be able to click on any element of the Table of Contents and can jump directly to that section. The table of contents will contain all headings of the style 'iPad Heading 1' or 'iPad Heading 2.'

  • Use iPad Heading 1 for main headings such as Introduction, Timetable, and Session.
  • Use iPad Heading 2 for sub-headings just under main headings.
  • Use iPad body text for ordinary body type.

To make a heading use one of the styles, highlight the heading. Under Styles, locate and click 'iPad Heading 1' or whichever one you want

Once you have finished your document, move your cursor to just after the red heading "Table of Contents" (on the second page), and click

  • The References tab at the top
  • Pull down to Custom Table of Contents
  • Click OK
  • If it asks you "Do you want to replace....?" Click Yes.

The Table of Contents will automatically appear. If you add more pages and changes to your document after you insert the Table of Contents, you can just highlight the Table of Contents, right click and select Update.

Finally, when your workbook is completely finished, in Word, select File - Export - Create PDF/XPS Format and your workbook will export as a PDF, ready to be posted onto Blackboard for students to download.

Using the workbook in groupwork

Students will be working, as a group, through the questions in the workbook. They will use Notability to type and handwrite and draw on the PDF version of the workbook.

Students will be encouraged to search in books, ebooks, and elsewhere on the internet to help answer the workbook questions. When one student finds a good online reference, she can share it with other students who may then add it into their own workbook. A good way for one student to share to the rest of their group is to use iMessage (built into the iPad), make a group and send one message to the group.

A good way for one student to quickly share to a single other student is to use Airdrop (also built into the iPad).

Back to top