When you have a moment, please review the basics and syntax of Markdown. In a text editor of your choice (e.g., Notepad++, TextWrangler, Sublime, or Mou), just be sure to save your file with the .md extension. As you write, you might find this cheatsheet, or this one, handy.
After some practice, you'll likely get a sense of how Markdown allows you to focus on the content of your writing, without much worry about HTML encoding or rich-text formatting in Word. It also bypasses the page as a measurement of progress or productivity, replacing it (for better or worse) with line, character, and word counts.
During a seminar meeting, we'll review how to maintain a change history of your Markdown content and then push it to a research repository (where you will house your writing, data, and media files this semester). In the meantime, get in touch with questions!