Absolutely agreed with Syd. And I’m sorry if my three or four years of field experience in teaching undergrads at Pitt-Greensburg fails to convince you about the “ducks to water” claim, but I will repeat it, and even indicate that my “one-week” period is exaggerated. It really takes, as Syd indicates, some *hours*. I believe it takes an overnight homework assignment that orients them to coding. I’ve never had trouble with teaching XML—and when students tend to feel overwhelmed with my coding course it’s much later—perhaps with schema writing (though not typically)—it’s usually when we get to writing regular expressions and up-converting plain text to XML. Then it becomes something of an obsessive-compulsive video-game experience, I think, and they get frustrated when the expressions they try don’t work or make ill-formed code. They tend to get befuddled for maybe a week in figuring out how to write template matches in XSLT, but they get over that, too. 

I’ve seen students get stuck and lost with coding, but it’s not with the XML writing part of it. They even enjoy XPath. Really. Give those undergrads a try—they *do* like to learn to code, and it seems a shame not to give them the opportunity when you have them for 6 weeks working on TEI files. 

Elisa Beshero-Bondar, PhD
Director, Center for the Digital Text | Associate Professor of English
University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg | Humanities Division
150 Finoli Drive
Greensburg, PA  15601  USA
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Development site:

On Apr 26, 2017, at 8:55 PM, Syd Bauman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Martin -- For encouragement using MS Word as an XML editor and advice
on how to do so ask Laura Mandell from Texas A&M. The rest of us will
try to warn you off the idea.

I, for one, think you would be doing the undergraduates you hire a
grave disservice not to spend the 1/2 day it will take to teach them
XML, oXygen, and enough TEI to do the work you need.[1] For some it
will be a skill they just use to do the job you've hired them for
better. For some it will prove mildly useful at cocktail parties and
perhaps when dealing with tech support. For a few, though, it will be
a life-long skill that will prove invaluable over and over again.

[1] And you should fee free to use the WWP teaching materials. E.g.,
   or, just slides w/o the tutorial notes at