Technology Guidance

The content of this page represents the opinions of the author, Mark Kavananugh, and in no way represent either Ashford University or Kennebec Valley Community College. This page also does not represent an endorsement of any specific product by either of these institutions.


Multimedia

Ashford University is providing more opportunities for students to engage their assignments using multimedia. A number of assignment that used to be simply written papers are not being submitted as multimedia presentations. It is thought that the use of images, sounds, and video create a more powerful message and are more engaging activities for students.

The details of these assignments are outlined in your class.

This can be a technically challenging aspect of the class. Keep in mind that it is up to YOU to find a workable solution in order to make these assignments happen. This means you need to become proficient with the audio tools and microphone on your computer and become proficient at whichever tool you choose to use.

The ultimate product is a recorded "movie" of your slideshow with your voice over speaking. The slides change with your speech as they would with a face to face presentation. Your goal is to produce a quality production.


Basic Considerations

Keep in mind the following general advice when it comes to utilizing tools to create your presentations for your class:

  • The GOAL is not for you to learn how to use a particular tool, but to do a presentation that demonstrates your learning.
  • You are not limited to the tools that are listed in the course...any tool that you feel comfortable with that will allow you to meet the expectations of the assignment is fine.
  • Be open to the experience of learning a new tool and a new way of expressing yourself in online classes.
  • Reach out for help from your instructor and fellow student.
  • Start working on these assignments early so you can give yourself time to get them done.
  • Take the assignments seriously as they ARE graded and you still have to meet specific academic criteria in your performance.



Options

In this section I'm going to review a number of options for creating multimedia presentations. This is not an exhaustive list and some might be dependent on specific hardware and/or software that may need to be purchased. Of course, you are not required to purchase anything to complete these assignments as there are plenty FREE solutions out there.

Presentation Software (applications that run on your computer)

For many presentations the go-to solution is slideshow software. This software allows you to create sequences of slides with words, images, graphics, and sometimes audio/video components. The following are examples of programs you load on your computer or mobile device and create presentations. To share them with others you need to send them through email or post them to the web.

Do not send me copies of your actual PowerPoint or Keynote files with the audio imbedded in them...this does not seem to translate well over the Internet and I can't play them. If you can record your presentation in the software and then export that file as a movie (Windows Media or Quicktime) you can send me the movie. Otherwise use the screen capture tools listed below to record your presentation as a movie and send me that movie or link.


The most common solution is Microsoft PowerPoint.

Click the logo to learn more about Microsoft PowerPoint for PC
Click HERE to learn more about Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac

PowerPoint is the slide show creation software that is included in many versions of Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office can usually be purchased when you purchase your computer and can be purchased at a student discount rate.

PowerPoint is available for both Mac and Windows based computers.

If you are going to use PowerPoint for your presentation you will need to convert it to a movie file and send the movie file (not the PPT file) to the course. On a Mac you simply record your narration into PowerPoint and then save the file as a QuickTime movie (.mov file).

On Windows you follow the instructions on this video:

 

These solutions will create very large files so be sure to give yourself lots of time to upload them to the course. There may also be a file size limit on what you CAN upload to the course...but I'm unsure.


Another popular slide show creation solution is Keynote.

Click the logo to learn more about Apple Keynote

Keynote is a Mac Only solution produced by Apple. It works very similarly to PowerPoint with some nifty features of its own.

Keynote is ALSO available as an app that can be used on an Apple iPad, iPhone, or iPod device.

Keynote can save your presentation as a QuickTime movie (.mov file) in much the same manner as PowerPoint.


Another Mac Only solution, and FREE is SlideDog.

Click the logo to learn more abut SlideDog

At the time of this writing, SlideDog is new on the scene, but it seems to be a promising solution, and well, you can't beat FREE!


Another FREE solution is Open Office by Apache.

Click the logo to learn more about Apache Open Office

Open Office is a complete office suite of tools including a word processor, presentation software, and spreadsheet software. Open Office is available for both Mac and PC.

While this solution is compelling there are some issues when converting files into different formats so you can share them with others who do not have Open Office.

There is a Linux version of Open Office called Libre Office




Presentation Software (applications that run in the cloud)

The following are examples of programs you access through the web. You create an account (usually free) and create your presentations online. You can then send a link to your presentations to others so they can see them.

The best online slide show solution is PowToon!

Click the logo to learn more about PowToon

This solution is FREE and provides a huge selection of templates and options for captivating text, images, sounds, video, etc.

You can your shows to YouTube to share them with others...or simply send a link right to your presentations. This is a complete solution for creating online presentations that others can view.

The FREE version of this service limits presentations to 5 minutes.

THIS IS THE PREFERRED SOLUTION FOR THE ASSIGNMENTS IN THIS CLASS


Another solution is to use Google Drive and Google Docs to create your presentation.

To use Google Docs you simply need to sign up for a Google Mail (GMail) account and look up all the cool tools they provide.

Google also owns YouTube so you will likely need to create this account anyway.

Simply visit Google to learn more about Google Docs.


SlideRocket is another online solution for creating very dynamic presentations.

Click on the logo to learn more about SlideRocket

At this time SlideRocket is currently updating their service following their acquisition of ClearSlide. No new accounts can be created but they will certainly be back!


One of the most innovative approaches to online slideshow creation is the popular Prezi.

Click the logo to learn more about Prezi

Prezi approaches slide shows a bit different. There is actually only ONE slide, but you can create animated movement and zooming into different levels of the slide. This makes for a very dynamic feel to your presentation.

THIS IS THE PREFERRED SOLUTION FOR THE ASSIGNMENTS IN THIS CLASS


Another interesting solution is Haiku Deck.

Click on the logo to learn more about Haiku Deck

This particular solution is available both online and as an iPad app (see below).

One great aspect of this solution is the simplicity of the interface and the ability to export you slideshow to various places:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
  • PowerPoint
  • PDF

You can also host your slideshow on

  • Slideshare
  • Host it on the Haiku Deck website
  • Wordpress
  • You can also embed the show in a web page with HTML



Recording Your Presentation

For some assignments, simply putting together the slideshow is only the beginning. You may want to add an audio voice over or even video of yourself talking.

This will make your presentation come alive! Images and words are OK, but there is nothing quite like hearing (and seeing) you talk!

Many of the solutions already presented have options for voice overs (speaking your presentation). You will need to explore their features yourself to find out which ones will work for you.

Other solutions will allow you to create voice overs or even video additions to your presentation.


Audio Recording Software

For the Mac the obvious solution for recording anything on your screen for free is to use QuickTime.

On a PC (or a Mac) you might try Audacity.


Click the logo to visit the Audacity website


Screen Recording Software

If you are going to use a solution that does not allow you to imbed audio into a recording then you are going to have to use screen capture software to record yourself while you play through your slide show (almost as if you were doing a presentation in front of an audience).

There are numerous applications available that you download to your computer and then use to capture the screen as you play your slideshow. You simply load up your PowerPoint or your Keynote presentation and the capture your screen. Many of these applications, however, are expensive (though some are not)...they are used by training professionals to create training programs on how to use software.

Keep in mind that SCREEN RECORDING is different than SCREEN CAPTURE (screen capture will take a PICTURE of your screen, not a video)

Screen Record software can capture your slideshow from anyone of the solutions already presented.

Here are some examples:

  • CamStudio Open Source (Widows only, Free)
  • Camtasia (Windows and Mac, CamStudio's big brother, $99+) - these are also the folks that host "Screencast.com"
  • QuickTime
    • QT is built into every Mac
    • QT has a built in screen record function (it also does a camera record and audio record)
    • This recording feature is ONLY in the Mac version of this software.


Online-based Screen Capture Solutions

There are also a number of online tools you can use to capture your slideshow, audio, and video.

Screencast O'matic

Click on the logo to learn more about Screencast O'matic

This solution will record either your full screen or a selection of your choice. It also does voice over.

Click HERE to see a tutorial video on how to use Screencast O'matic

SCREENCAST -O- MATIC IS IS THE PREFERRED SOLUTION FOR THE ASSIGNMENTS IN THIS CLASS

WebEx Meetings

Click the logo to learn more about WebEx

WebEx actually does quite a lot...for FREE!

WebEx is primarily a web conferencing solution. The FREE version allows you to connect up to three web cams and hold a meeting.

The ability to SHARE your desktop is where it comes in handy for presentations.

You can set up a meeting with just yourself, set it to share your desktop, start your presentation, and record audio and video feeds to your presentation.

WebEx allows you to record the presentation and store it on their servers...you can then download it (to save your free space) or simply leave it there and link people to it (to view the presentation your audience is going to have to download the WebEx player...which is free)

 

 


If you have an iPad...

I have to tell the truth...I have a soft spot for all things Apple and in particular, for the iPad. The solutions I present below are specifically for the iPad, however, similar apps may be available for Android and other mobile devices.

I know the iPad best so I can speak to it better.

These specific solutions are somewhat limited because the recording features are sometimes limited. You will have to experiment to see how you can make these work.

iPad Presentation Software

A couple applications have already been identified above. Keynote and Haiku Deck are both available as apps that run on iPads. Any of the online services (such as Prezi) should also run on an iPad.

Click the logo to learn more about Apple Keynote

Click on the logo to learn more about Haiku Deck


While new applications for the iPad are coming out every day, here are a few that I am particularly fond of and find well suited to online presentations.

TouchCast

Click the logo to learn more about TouchCast

TouchCast has created a revolution in what can be done in presentations! This one free application allows you to record yourself (video and audio), insert pictures, documents, and even live web pages (you can actually navigate the web inside your presentation).

The capabilities of this app are simply too numerous to list!


Storehouse

Click on the logo to learn more about Storehouse

This software promotes itself as "digital storytelling". It has limits as to how many images, text boxes, and videos you can put into a single "story", but this is a great piece of software for short presentations!


Tumblr

Click the logo to learn more about Tumblr

While Tumblr is not necessarily an iPad app, the app for Tumblr on the iPad works really well to modify your existing Tumblr social media account.