Reporting on an Issue


Just as with all the other written work you have done you will need to structure your Current or Environmental Issue report to make sure it contains all the information that the task asks for. Again in common with your other work you will need to do a draft first.

Your report

There are many different types of report and many different ways of structuring reports, it is important to have a title that tells you what the report is about and a clear structure with relevant headings. Make sure that you include:

1. An introduction.

  • a clear identification of the issue;
  • why the issue is significant.

2. A section that describes the issue in YOUR OWN WORDS – please do NOT copy/paste from websites, make sure that this section includes:

3. A section that states the main facts of the issue in YOUR OWN WORDS – please do NOT copy/paste from websites, this should include:

  • who are the key players;
  • who, or what are affected (area, place, stakeholders, groups, individuals);
  • why the issue has arisen (reasons).

4. A section for your opinion on the issue in YOUR OWN WORDS – please do NOT copy/paste from websites, remember to include:

  • your own opinion on the issue
  • reasons why you have that opinion (you can use some data to support your opinion – you must include the source of the data)

5. A conclusion which sums up what you have written.

6. A bibliography, this must be a list of all your sources of information including books, newspapers and  website links where you have used information from the Internet.

There is a template here that you can use to help you plan your research and your report. Click this link Research Planning Template to download the template.

An example report

The amount you need to write and the depth/amount of information you need will differ with the Certificate level you are completing. At the higher Certificate levels you will need to write in much more depth and detail than in this example. Please check with your lecturer if you are not sure.

Credits: Basket image: Vilseskogen, link:
Underwater image: photohome_uk, link:

Report on the impact of shark attacks on the underwater basket weaving industry


This report considers the issue of shark attacks on workers in the underwater basket weaving industry. It will consider the facts and give an opinion about the issue.

Shark attacks on underwater basket weavers

There is a long history of occasional shark attacks on workers in the underwater basket weaving industry. However these are becoming more common. The attacks are significant because of the economic effect on the industry – they:

  • increase staff turnover due to deaths so new staff have to be trained;
  • lead to the loss of  half completed baskets as they become soaked in blood.

The facts

The weavers, the industry managers and of course the sharks play a part in this continuing issue.

There are many effects from the attacks. The main effect is from the death of individual weavers in attacks. This affects the families of the dead weavers and reduces the profits of the industry who then have to replace and train new staff. There are also impacts in the wider community as regular shark attacks make tourists less willing to visit the area.

This issue has arisen because of a change  in the variety of seaweed used by the underwater basket weaving industry. In the past they used the species Fucus weavicus however a decline in the availability of this has meant the industry changed to Laminaria smellicus. Unfortunately, when this is cut underwater, sharks are attracted because it smells to them like fresh blood.


This issue is very important to the industry. They need to search for a solution to reduce the number of underwater basket weaver deaths resulting from shark attacks each year. Because the industry is offshore it does not have the same health and safety controls as it would if it was land-based.

This my opinion because of the economic and human impact of the increased shark attacks since the introduction of the new seaweed in 2008.

Deaths of underwater basket weavers from shark attack 2006 to 2011




There was a large increase in the year of introduction and a continuing steady rise since. This needs action before it makes the industry completely uneconomic.


There has been an increase in the number of underwater basket weaver deaths from shark attacks each year since the introduction of the new seaweed weaving material. This has had many impacts on the industry. For the industry to continue a solution needs to be found.


Website of the Underwater Basket Weaving Industry. “Economic effects of shark attacks on the industry” Peter Profit.  http://www. UnderwaterBasketWeavingIndustry.htm Posted June 2011 Accessed June 2012

Underwater Basket Weaving Monthly. “A new seaweed for underwater basket weaving.” G. Economi. Weaver Publishing Co. July 2007

Website of South African Centre for Underwater Basket Weaving. Underwater Basket Weaving – Basic Information http://www.saunderwterbasketweaving/info.html Updated Jan 2009 Accessed June 2012

Website of Unsafe Work Australia. National Standard for Underwater Basket Weavers. /NationalStandard.aspx Standard Updated 2010 Accessed June 2012

You can use the report above as a guide for how to put together your own report as a draft blog post.


Using images to make instructions more helpful


Simple instructions don’t always need images to make them more effective. For example recipes often don’t have images, and if they do they may often just have a picture of the finished item. However to make your instructions more effective it often helps to include one or more diagrams or other images.

How can images help?

Instructions are more effective if the number of words used can be kept fairly small. The old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is very relevant for writing instructions because using an image with labels can remove the need to write long descriptions. For example the labelled picture of a chain saw below would save many words in instructing how to find the “fuel filler cap” and fill the saw with fuel.

Including the picture and referring to it from the instructions saves writing a detailed description of the “fuel filler cap”, where to find it on the saw, and how to distinguish it from the “oil filler cap”.

It is possible to make instructions even more visual especially if you are writing a “how to” that involves a computer application. This can be done with numbered steps on screenshots as in this one for positioning and inserting an image in your blog.

Visuals are particularly helpful for anything that requires the user to:

  • locate something on a piece of equipment or a toolbar – particularly one unfamiliar to them
  • move something in a particular way
  • see that changes that should result from their actions at each stage in a series of steps

The “techie” bit of making and adding visuals

My own preference for adding visuals to instructions is to use PhotoFiltre and Powerpoint as described in the Slideshare below. I create and save my labelled/annotated images, these can then be inserted directly into: blogposts, presentations or documents with the mimimum of effort.


I use this process because I find it:

  • simple and quick to do;
  • easy to edit later if needed
  • provides me with portable visuals that I can use in other applications because they are saved as images

Audio-visual instructions

Audio-visual instructions are becoming more and more common using screencasts and/or video. However these have a major disadvantage in that it is difficult to refer back to one point somewhere in the middle of the instructions without having to replay the entire sequence to find the bit you want! Using audio-visuals is therefore best kept to VERY short activities such as this screencast on attaching files to emails.


There are many different ways of preparing visuals for inclusion in instructions. The one described above is the one I use because it works for me. Please comment on whether you think it will work for you – why or why not?


Planning and creating your digital story – Part 2


Once you have ideas for your stories and have decided (after some feedback from your fellow students, lecturer and others) on your topic it is time to move on to the next part of the storymaking process.This post is about the activities you will need to complete in making your story. When you complete your “Project Plan” for making your story you will need to think in detail about

  • what you need for each stage;
  • what activities you need to carry out in each of the  stages;
  • the time taken for each activity in each stage;
  • the overall timeline and fitting it all together – remember sometimes you will have to wait for feedback – so is there something from another stage you can do while you wait?


Checkout this link on Storyboarding – the focus of this one is on digital stories with an audio component but it works the same way for the type of story we are doing. This link also has a “how to” on creating your own simple storyboard template using Word. This would be a useful way for you to create your own storyboard for your story. You will need to make your storyboard and get feedback on it before you start writing your story


How many images will you need? This will partly depend on the length of your story but also depends on how many separate “points” there are in the story. You need one image per “page/slide”

If your story is being made in an online application with existing artwork images you will need to find images on the site that illustrate your points well and that you can use for each page of your story.

If you are using images that you find for yourself you need to consider where you will get them – will they be your pictures or from elswhere (remember copyright). How long will it take to find and edit images so that they will fit without making your file too big. Remember that you MUST credit image sources and creators.

Writing your story (script)

If your story was going to be an audio narration this would be called “writing the script” Because we are using text you will need to write your story as a “story”.  To help you think about the structure of your story you may need to look back at the story examples from the Symbaloo Webmix of Story Links. Also you can research on the Internet for stories about similar topics to your own chosen one and see how these are put together.


  • for Certificate I you need ABOUT 150-250 words (5-8 pages/slides)
  • for Certificate II you need ABOUT 250- 400 words (7-12 pages/slides)
  • for Certificate III you need ABOUT 400-600 words (10-15 pages/slides)

Once you have drafted it is time to get feedback and do the editing and redrafting process.

Think about how long each part of the story writing will take – you will need estimates for your project plan.

Putting it all together

Once you have planned your story, sorted out the sequence of images and written your text it is time to put it all together as a draft using your chosen application. This is a good time to add any page titles, and also to add credits – usually a page at the end acknowledging help and information sources. Again you will need to get feedback and “polish” your story before finally publishing it and either linking from or embedding in your blog.


The information in this post should help you in planning your story making project. You will need to plan and manage your own time for this project over the three weeks of the project.


Planning and creating your digital story – Part 1


Digital stories take many forms, often they are a series of images with music and voice over. However we are going to focus on making digital stories that use text with images rather than audio.

Story ideas

Some ideas for topics, your final story doesn’t have to be one of these, they are just to help you start thinking!

  • Illustrating an aspect of your life to send to family or friends who live a long way away
  • Describing a visit, holiday, activity, event in which you have taken part
  • A portfolio of some of your work eg plans, designs, photographs of a project you have completed with descriptions and explanations
  • Illustrating, describing, explaining a leisure activity, sport, hobby or interest in which you participate
  • Demonstrating and explaining a practical skill that you have

 Outlining ideas

To help you make a final decision on what your story will be about it is a good idea to share thoughts and ideas with others, you can do this through your blog. However you will need to write short outlines of your stories to share.

Here are examples to help you.

Story outline 1. A practical skill that I have is planting plants. The story will describe how to:

  • prepare the space for the plant;
  • correctly remove it from its pot;
  • plant it; and
  • then carry out any necessary aftercare.

Story outline 2. One of my favourite places to visit is the Avon Valley National Park near Toodyay.

This story will describe a visit to the National Park during the wildflower season. I will describe the Bald Hill lookout area and also the river valley. Images to illustrate the visit will include scenery and wildflowers.


Think about those examples above when you are writing your own brief story outlines. Now add a comment to this post that gives some feedback suggesting changes or additions to one of the stories above that you think would make it more interesting. Just saying it is a great idea is not enough on its own 🙂

Writing a post – the “writing bit”


A “good” post is really one that does what you want it to do! While it is always exciting (and sometimes a bit scary) to discover that others are reading your posts, the important thing is that they work for you!

Posts for different purposes will be very different. For example if you are writing or using video or images to showcase something that you are good at this will be very different from a post where you are writing to share information. Both of these will be different from a post where you are giving instructions on how to do something.

This post is about some of the ways you can make your posts easy to read, effective and interesting.


It is important that you have some sort of structure for your post. Clear structure is very helpful for anyone reading your post – reading online is much harder when there is no structure. The structure is like a series of signposts that show you where you are and breaks the post up into manageable “chunks”.

You will see that most of the posts on ELFADA are split up using headings. We usually have an “Introduction” that tells you what the post is about. The middle part of the post has one or more headings for the topics or sections covered. Then we finish with a “Conclusion”, often this includes questions to help you write comments on the post.

Under each heading there will be one or more paragraphs. Checkout this link for a short look at paragraphs with a quiz and this one for a more detailed look at writing good paragraphs. The course website also has more on paragraphs and how to write good ones. The paragraphs are made up of sentences – short paragraphs work better than long ones in blog posts. You will find more on writing good and correct sentences on the course website.

As well as paragraphs we often use lists to make something easier to read. “Bulleted” (dot point) lists are good when you have several examples to give. Numbered lists are good for the steps in instructions explaining how to do something.

It is best if you can organise your post with information in a sensible order, this is easier if you have a structure in your mind when yuo write.

The words

The words that you use and the way that you use them are important in making your blog easy and interesting to read.

Remember you have no idea who might read your blog post (it could be a future employer) so it is always good to take great care with your writing. Draft your post first and expect to edit it at least twice before you publish. Proofread your work carefully – it sometimes helps to read it out to yourself. Use the spell check but also check that you have the right words in the right places – if you are not sure then look up the word! Spell check won’t find a mistake if you have used a real word in the wrong place eg “there” instead of “their”. Read your sentences carefully to make sure that they are correct well written sentences that make sense and that you have capital letters and punctuation in the right places.

Take great care that you do not copy/paste text from elsewhere – using other people’s writing except under particular conditions is theft! It is very easy for someone to check online to see if their work has been stolen, so use your own words and refer to the source of your information – in a blog post it is usually easy to link to that source if it is online.

When you first start writing posts it is a good idea to ask your lecturer to check the post over and suggest any editing before you publish. Login to the course website for more help with spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Media and links

One of the great things about blogs compared to printed pages is that you can include other “stuff” and so make your posts much more exciting! It is a good “rule of thumb” to include at least one of the following:

  • image
  • audio/audiovisual/visual
  • interactive activity (such as polling)

in every post – more than one if the post is long! These can be included as uploaded images, links or embedded code or a blend.

Once you have got started with writing posts we will be looking at some of the ways of including different media in posts. This is particularly useful for any posts where you are showcasing your skills and want to include pictures or audio.


Writing blog posts is just like any other type of writing. You write different posts for different purposes. As with all writing drafting, proofreading and careful editing are the keys to good posts.

Add a comment to this post. Is the post helpful for you in thinking about writing your own posts? What do you think will be the most helpful item in the post for you personally?