Putting presentations on the Web

I recently found myself wondering about the use of PowerPoint (or similar) presentations on the Web, and in particular in the context of academic conferences and e-learning projects.  At the VideoForum show in London, I had an opportunity to play with E-Lectern, an interesting system that (potentially) combines streaming video, slides and two-way text.  Apparently it hasn’t been used all that much in higher education, but a number of NHS programmes in the UK are using the system.

On my laptop, I have a copy of Keynote, Apple’s “non-powerpoint” application. It’s part of the iWork package well integrated with the rest of the Mac applications (e.g. iPhoto and the iLife suite).  It has a useful but not-well-advertised feature where presentations can be customised and exported as QuickTime videos.  (This is suitable for upload to YouTube and similar sites, too).  This is a surprisingly straightforward to add some good visuals to a Web project.  But any return path has to be separate (quite a few universities and conferences will webcast their seminars or conferences and use IRC (or similar) to take questions: Global Voices, Berkman (Harvard) and Vloggercon are examples), which has advantages and disadvantages.

Remembering, of course, that simply converting one file and throwing it on the Web is bad karma; some would even say it is evil, lazy, slothful and sinful!  Hmmb.

Know of any other good ways of doing this?  Would love to hear it.  I’m especially interested right now, as part of my research assistant job involves organising consultation meetings within the university, and attracting staff and students to the online versions/adaptations of what is dealt with at the ‘real world’ presentations is a challenge.  Especially given that we are talking about a very mixed user community (so anything like ‘oh, just put it in SecondLife’ won’t be taken seriously).


4 thoughts on “Putting presentations on the Web

  1. Ok, so the answer is: get a mac. I agree. But before you get there, you seem not to be convinced by Gerry McGovern’s views (also here) that pdfs are evil, lazy, slothful and sinful. You say “Hmmb”. But he argues

    PowerPoints are the curse of the intranet, and PDFs the curse of the Web. PDFs reflect print thinking. On the Web, we need web thinking

    I couldn’t agree more. Gerry may have made the point is his usual messianic way, but it’s a good one. And in fact, you made it too, both by making this request, and arguing for it in the first paragraph.

    (Disclosure to the rest of the web: I am the chair of the group to which Daithí is the research assistant, and thus have just as much a vested interest as he does in this question and its answer)

  2. Responses:

    Yes, Slideshare is quite popular and cool, although it doesn’t seem to have an awful lot to show in terms of integration. I’ve viewed a few things on it, but haven’t tried upload/config yet.

    Darius Whelan at UCC notes that at Cork’s successful e-law summer institute, they simply hand out DVDs, using Videocue (on a Mac, thank you!). He adds that they are experimenting with Camtasia Studio. (And continued kudos to the Faculty of Law down south for being the only law school/faculty in the country with a dedicated IT/multimedia staff member).

    I actually agree with McGovern…the ‘hmmmb’ is because, like many such good practices, it means more work in an already busy day. It is essential to heed what he says (recognising, of course, that certain things will be presented in PDF when absolute duplication of an offline format is desired), and yes, that’s part of the thinking in opening this topic here.

    Finally, I’ve blogged before about Lawrence Lessig’s presentations – if you want to get an idea of the style he is currently using (which is very close to his actual conference-presentation style; Michael Geist has a similar approach), try today’s presentation on orphan works. He uploads a video (of slides, without fancy transitions but with the characteristic Lessig features of one-word slides, lots of web snapshots, reuse of slides and of course hundreds of slides per presentation) which has an audio track to it (a speech that can be transcribed or stand alone). (The topic itself is also quite interesting!)

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