St. Etheldreda cathedral in London;
photo credit Alexis Arterrbery
Online, Narrated Presentation Assignment
Since by definition an online course does not meet in the classroom, you can't just set up a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation to present information to the class. When you are working online, you need to use some software tool to create a narrated presentation that can be put on the web for everyone in the class to see. There are several ways that this can be done.
If you are interested in an alternative course assignment, you may choose to create a narratced, online presentation for your history course. What I’d like is for you to focus on some specific historical topic that we agree upon, and I would like your presentation to include a voice-over narration so that when I click on the web link for your project, I can hear your recorded narration of the presentation.
Some of you might be doing a narrated, online presentation for a group project in one of your history courses. The information below also applies to you. The important thing to remember is that your narrated presentation must be publicly viewable on the web.
So, the instructions that follow are for putting a presentation online so that if can be viewed at any time. In some course assignments, for example, the HIS 112 group project, you might choose to do a presentation in a zoom meeting with your instructor. In that case, you would most likely be just using a regular presentation software.
(1) One option is to use Prezi. This used to be easy with earlier versions of Prezi, but now this can be complicated. See the information on using Prezi further below. You will need to record audio for your Prezi. Here are some ideas on how to do that.
- This has become more complicated because of the hurdles Prezi has enacted to add audio. It is also a little tricky to set up a free account, but students have been able to set up an account and complete the assignment in the seven-day window of free use.
- Here is a link to my short YouTube video on using Audacity (a free download) to record narration. To save an Audacity recording as an mp3, you need to have the free Lame encoder downloaded and installed on your computer.
- If you are using a Mac, a student has suggested this option: "Using the recording application on your iPhone, record each section of your presentation and save them as individual files. Message/email these files directly to yourself and open them on your computer through the message application or your email and save them directly to iTunes in a separate playlist folder."
- When attaching to Prezi, right click and select “Add voice over to Path Step.” After selecting this option go to “Music” and find your playlist, dragging and dropping directly into the folder. The Voice over will immediately download and the synchronization will math up with each slide.”
- TouchCast, which is a free app designed to be used on an iPad version 2 or later, is something else that you might be able to try. It seemed a bit difficult to me, but you might find it easier. See getting started at http://www.touchcast.com/support/#faq-9.
- There are many ways to record your audio. Whatever works is fine with me.
(2) You might also be able to use PowerPoint or Google Slides to create an online, narrated presentation.
- My understanding is that you can create a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation and add audio to each slide. Here are some directions that I found. Here are some directions for adding audio to Slides. You can then export your project as a movie or mp4 file and upload to the web, usually Youtube. Here are examples by Julia Picchiottino on the History of Bulgarian Folk Music and group 1 (HIS 111) for the Ibn Battuta project.
- If you choose to work with PowerPoint or Slides, then you must make a movie of your presentation and upload it to Youtube so that it can be viewed publically. Students have been able to do this!
(3) Adobe Spark. This is something new, and I've seen examples that show that it works very well for presentations.
- As a student, you can use Spark for free.
- The website is spark.adobe.com/
- When you go to the site, you need to log in on the left side, "continue with google," using your vccs student gmail to set up an account.
- Use the video option once you log in.
- There are many Youtube videos available on how to use if if you get stuck.
(4) There are some other options that you could use to create an online presentation, and they all require different levels of technological ability. These can get complicated
- Here is an article that gives some options for online presentations: Alan Henry, Five Best Online Presentation Creation Tools (2015)
- You could use a screen capture tool (some free, some paid), such as Jing, Snapz, Quicktime, OBS Studio, Camtasia. You would capture your computer screen(s) as you provide narration. There are probably others, but these software tools have been recommended by students. You can choose to record the entire screen or just a predefined area. Adjust the windows accordingly (to hide the control buttons for example) for a clean look. The video file can then be saved and shared. You will then need to post that video online somewhere for viewing; you may be able to put it on YouTube.
- Some students have successfully used Screen-o-matic (with great success) to record a presentation and then upload to Youtube. Please feel free to try.
- I found something called VoiceThread to post your ppt slides online, but I have never used that. Here are some directions for using VoiceThread. I am not sure how well (or easy) this works. Please let us know if this works.
- If you are a Mac user, you can use keynote and add voice recordings (either through the program or record it on your phone and transfer the file the computer). Then you can export as a movie and it loads right into youtube!
- If you have found any other way to create a movie, or narrated presentation using Powerpoint, please let us know. There could be extra credit involved.
These are just some ideas for undertaking this assignment. Please contact your instructor if you wish to try a different approach; we are open to just about anything. Note that I don't give a lot of technical information on how to do the online presentation. That is partly because there are so many different ways to do this, and it is also partly because I don't know your technology background, setup, your devices or software or what you are comfortable doing on your computer. So you are going to have to experiment a bit., and I can try and answer some of your questions.
Your online, narrated presentation should:
- be devoted to some historical subject that has been approved by your instructor. (That is a pretty broad subject option; we will discuss any ideas that you might have.) If you are working on a group project, then you already have a specific assignment question to address.
- include at least 10 steps/slides/screens; first screen will be an introduction where you explain the purpose of your presentation; last screen will be your references, or sources used.
- have about 8-10 minutes of narration, or about a minute per step/slide/screen. When you do your narration, I do not expect you to be reading the information from your slides/screens. I expect you to be explaining that information. In other words, do not read the text on a slide, word for word.
- have slides, Each slide should not have more than about 20 words on it. Remember, the slides are just like note cards. Sometimes, you do want to include a longer quote on a slide.
- have slides that include photos or other visuals such as maps or data, and just a little bit of text. (Please make sure that you proof your text for spelling errors.) Make sure that you include citations/sources on the references screen/slide for all of the materials that you have used in the presentation. Students have suggested that when you work with Prezi, you should first create a path for your slides before you start creating the slides.
When you have finished your presentation, please send to your instructor the URL of the presentation for an initial critique and feedback. After you have made revisions, please again send the URL to your instructor for final grading.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT USING PREZI:
- You can sign up for a free Prezi Plus account as a student using the free 14 day option. Please cancel the account when you are done with the project.
- If you have used Prezi Classic before (Prezi Classic came before Prezi Next), you can log into Prezi Next, and on the left side menu, you can opt to continue to use Prezi classic. Then you are able to upload audio to your pages to create a narrated presentation. Please check ahead of time to make sure you can add sound easily in order to avoid any issues with adding the sound at the last minute. Here are instructions that explain how to make sure that you are using Prezi classic.
- There are instructions for getting started at https://prezi.zendesk.com/categories/20066263-The-Prezi-Manual.
- Here are the instructions for adding your narration.
- This is my sample Prezi that I put together very quickly (Your Prezi will look much better). I used Quicktime on my Mac to record the audio (I could have used Audacity on my PC); I used Snapz Pro for the screen captures on my Mac; (I could have used Jing on my PC).
- Here are some great sample student Prezis (if they are still available) that give you some ideas on how to create a first-rate presentation:
- Julia Picchiottino, The History of Bulgarian Folk Music (A narrated PowerPoint uploaded to YouTube)
- When it comes to a narrated, online presentation, they don't get better than this done by Leah Salentine on the Commedia dell'arte for HIS 111.
- Christopher Cleveland on the History of the Integrated Circuit
- Rachael Elstad, Portugal's Global Influence.
- Claire Foote, Japanese Internment Camps
- Andrew Lewis, Stalin's Journey to Power
- Emily Watson, The Age of Enlightenment
- Adeeb Shuaib, Ludwig von Mises
- Jaline Soliz, Kabuki Theatre
- Tiana Young, Japanese Modernization During the Meiji Era
- Nelson Stewart, former student in HIS 112, created an online, narrated Prezi on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Tiana Young, a former student in HIS 112, has created an online, narrated Prezi the focus on Japanese Modernization During the Meiji Era. (It is really very well done.)