Building Online Presentations

When students present online they do more than demonstrate their mastery of a subject; they also showcase their technical abilities.  Because the tools students use can vary, it’s important for instructors to decide upon the delivery format before assigning the presentation.  For example, would you like students to be able to attend a “live” session, or would a narrated PowerPoint suffice?  Also consider where you’d like the presentation to be posted and if you’d like to provide peers an opportunity to view or comment on the presentation.

Once you’ve decided on how you’d like the presentations delivered, you can provide students with a range of options for building their presentations.

Presentation Options
One tool that most closely approximates a live presentation is Wimba.  With this tool, students can run a web conference in a synchronous session or archive their work for asynchronous viewing.  Wimba is a great solution for students completing a group presentation because it allows team members to develop their presentations collaboratively, especially when it’s difficult to get together face to face.  It also provides a space in which students can practice before delivering their final product.  Students can import PowerPoint files or use the Share application button to show other types of content.

Because the Wimba Classroom is integrated with Blackboard, students never have to leave Blackboard to record their narrated presentations.  When setting up the room for students to use, make sure the presentation tools are available to both students and instructors.   It may be helpful to include a Wimba Classroom list in your course menu so that students can quickly find and use both the rooms and the archives.

Since some students may have limited experience using and presenting with web conferencing tools, it may be helpful to give students some pointers about using Wimba to deliver presentations.  You may also want to remind students that Wimba flattens PowerPoint, so embedded items (like animations, links, or video) will not be available.

Other Tools
Students, either individually or in groups, can also build dynamic, narrated presentations using basic presentation software.   With a tool like PowerPoint 2010, it’s easy to record narration and save it as part of the presentation.  Students can also save narrated presentations as Windows Media Video and then upload presentations to free video hosting services such as YouTube.

Students may find they need to use more than one tool to build their presentation.  For example, a student might want to build presentation in Prezi and then use a tool like Screencast-O-Matic to capture audio and post their work.

This table provides some resources students may use when building an online presentation.

What does it do? How much does it cost? Are there time limits? Does it require download?
Jing screen recording
free 5 minutes yes
Screencast-o-matic screen recording
free 15 minutes no
Screenr screen recording
free 5 minutes no
Camstudio screen recording
free no yes
iMovie (Mac)/Movie Maker (PC) video creation free no yes (for Movie Maker)
YouTube video hosting free 15 minutes No
Vimeo video hosting free no, but there is a file size limit no
Educreations recordable white board iPad app
free no yes
ScreenChomp recordable white board iPad app
free about 20 minutes yes
Explain Everything recordable white board iPad app $2.99 no yes

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