Let’s use PowerPoint to move away from PowerPoint with iSpring!

Love it or hate it, Microsoft PowerPoint has been the go-to tool for learning content for many years now and it will more than likely continue to be a staple in the Learning Edge tool box for years to come.  As we all know PowerPoint does have its limitations when incorporating multimedia + instructional tools if you’re trying to accommodate diverse learning styles and more equally trying to enable content accessibility via mobile devices (Edge Hill Central and Learning Edge Apps). Everywhere we look these days, we can see the impact that mobile technology continues to have on our society. According to Cisco Visual Networking Index, by the end of 2014 the number of mobile devices will exceed the number of people on earth, and by 2018 predicts there will nearly 1.4 mobile devices for every person. Mobile Learners with iSpringSince January 2014 here in the Learning Technology Development Team we’ve been exploring the capabilities of the iSpring application as an additional plugin to PowerPoint to meet the needs of academic staff and to also enhance the online/mobile learning experience of our students. For those new to iSpring, it’s fundamentally an e-learning authoring tool that integrates with PowerPoint, so no special skills are needed to start using it. iSpring gives PowerPoint the ability to add multimedia easily and include instructional functionality to slides.  This also ensures accessibility for both traditional desktop and mobile users by transforming your PowerPoint file into HTML5! (This means that it will play on pretty much any device without the need for additional software or apps!)

iSpring RibbonOn Thursday 3rd July 2014 I presented an introductory iSpring webinar via Blackboard Collaborate to 26 Edge Hill University Staff, which demonstrated the concepts of multimedia usage and instructional design within PowerPoint.  (I really wanted to title the session “The Jerry iSpringer Show’ though I wasn’t too sure how that would go down!) The webinar enlightened staff to the main differences between an ordinary PowerPoint presentation and a presentation energised with the features of iSpring. During the webinar I explained and demonstrated a variety of methods on how multimedia resources can be incorporated into your current or new PowerPoint presentations by just a few clicks using iSpring. All the tools I covered in the webinar have been approved as ‘mobile & desktop friendly’ solutions, which enables users to utilise resources online or in class.

Feel free to watch the webinar on YouTube by clicking on the link below:

I really value the quick feedback we receive from staff. I’d like to share some of those comments I’ve received from staff within the Faculty of Health and Social Care:

“The software is user friendly; you can make the most of this resource by embedding exercises, discussion, video, web links, reading, references etc.   It is possible to have a student centered, interactive resource recorded and available online in a short period of time.  Students have given very positive feedback and they value the ‘discussional’ approach we use, which makes online learning personal.  One student said that it was like having a one to one tutorial.”  Trish Prescott, Senior Lecturer CPD

“I find it much easier to use .ppt and dropping in audio from Audacity.  Being able to drop in other items really enhances the presentation”  Elaine Hughes, Senior Lecturer Adult Nursing

“The thing I like most about iSpring is that my PowerPoint presentations can be combined with sound files in three strokes of the mouse, and hey presto! My Learning Edge presentations can be viewed by students on their iPhones and iPads.”  Chris Jones, Senior Lecturer CPD

“iSpring is enabling me to teach  in all the ways that I was imagining – all in one package!”  Sertip Zangana Senior lecturer CPD

“iSpring allows me to build and edit material very easily in the way I want it to look on the page for the student.” Jeremy Brown, Reader in Health Service Research

“The beauty of iSpring for me, is in its potential to create a learning experience that addresses the needs of both the campus based and distance student.  With the increased functionality over other methods that I would have relied on previously, I can see opportunities to develop more engaging materials!”  Irene Dudley-Swarbrick, Senior Lecturer Applied Health & Social Care

Since the webinar took place Edge Hill University now has 43 iSpringers who originated from the early adopters project – who are taking e-learning to a whole new level. These users are located as followed:

15 x Faculty of Health and Social Care

12 x Faculty of Arts & Sciences

10 x Faculty of Education

5 x Learning Services

1 x Directorate

LTD have extended the outline of the original webinar in the form of a ‘digital hand-out’ for all current and new users…. just to make things even smoother over this academic year and beyond. Feel free view the resource by clicking on the below image and then bookmarking it in your browser or within your eShare account.

iSpring 1 So maybe you’re thinking “I’d like to give this a try”.  Have no fear, you are all more than welcome to join this technological revolution in teaching and learning in the form our LTD ‘Hot Desk’ options.  Within the LTD office (LINC 2nd Floor Room S2) we have a laptop which is bookable by all staff as well as 2 hot desks fully loaded with iSpring and many other exclusive software packages.

To book yourself onto any of the ‘Hot Desk’ options simply email LTDSupport@edgehill.ac.uk or phone us on Ext 7754 and we’d be more than happy to help you with one of the available options at a time that suits you best! Post a comment below if you have any questions. You can also get in touch with us if you would simply like to know more!

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Mark Wilcock Learning Technology Development Officer

 

Yeti Pro Blue Microphone – a beast of a microphone!

LTD recently purchased a mammoth of a microphone to help with recordings of screen casts and other materials and also to offer it to staff who are developing their own content for teaching and learning.

The Yeti Pro microphone, manufactured by the legendary Blue Microphones, is a stunning microphone to record with giving clear crisp recordings straight to your PC.

Now the techie bit…

  • USB connection to PC
  • 24 bit/192 kHz digital recording resolution with analog XLR output.
  • Featuring three custom condenser capsules
  • Four different pattern settings (Stereo, Omni-directional, Cardoid and Bidirectional,
  • A-D converter chip and separate analog circuit path for use with professional studio mixers and preamps.
  • Built-in headphone amplifier for zero-latency monitoring
  • Direct controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, mute, and microphone gain.

Basically this means that for whatever purpose you have in mind for your audio recording, you’ll be able to find the best setting for the job but most commonly you’ll probably be using it to record yourself, so the cardioid setting will do just fine.

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With the availability of USB this makes it super quick and simple to plug in and use (after installing a small USB driver – but we’ve already put this on the hot desks in the LTD office and on the screen casting laptop!)

The quality really is top notch, so if you fancy giving it a try to raise your game with your screen casts, come visit LTD and we’ll get you on the right track.

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Carol Chatten
Learning Technology Development Officer

LTD Hot Desks

Come along to the LTD office to use our Hot Desk PCs.

FlyerCoverThe Hot Desk PCs have dual screen monitors for working with Blackboard and creating graphic, audio and video materials for teaching and learning.  They are loaded with teaching and learning software such as iSpring and Camtasia, and have high quality microphones and headphones.  We also have a laptop that you can take out on short term loan when you want to continue your content development or create your audio or video recordings in a quiet spot.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the desks is the location – in the heart of the LTD team – surrounded by colleagues brimming with ideas about how to make your online courses engaging, effective and enjoyable.

Please contact the LTD Team, email LTDSupport@edgehill.ac.uk (01695 650754), or come along to the top floor of the LINC building and see what we have to offer.

We all look forward to seeing and working with you.

Taking out the Cache

Every now and again its a good idea to clear your cache. This applies to browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome), operating system temporary files and even the JAVA cache.

Following the recent JAVA 7 update 51 release (14th January 2014) some users who downloaded and installed the update may now need to clear their JAVA cache in order to use some of the Blackboard Tools (Multiple File Upload, Virtual Classroom and Chat).

To clear your JAVA cache follow these instructions:

(Please note these instructions are a guide only and are targeted for Windows 7 with JAVA 7 update 51)

1. Click on the start button and search for ‘Configure Java’.

2. Select the Configure Java icon under the Programs section:

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3. In the Java Control Panel, choose the Settings button in the Temporary Internet Files section:

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4. In the Temporary Files Settings panel Choose the Delete Files button.

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5. In the Delete Files and Applications panel make sure all options are selected and click OK.

The process can take a few minuets, but once complete the panel will close and you can click OK on the remaining dialog boxes.

 

For further specific information about Blackboard 9.1 with JAVA 7 update 51, please see here.

We hope you find this guide useful and if you have any further questions regarding Blackboard 9.1 and JAVA 7 update 51 please email the LTD Team – LTDSupport@edgehill.ac.uk

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John Langford

Learning Technology Development Systems Officer

 

LTD eShare Guide Recap (July-August)

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Hey there folks, Mark here with your recap of all the latest LTD guide updates. Starting from August these feature posts will appear once a month to highlight any LTD guide updates added to eShare over the past 4 weeks! Well, just to skim the surface and name a few this month, we welcomed the addition of the new Turnitin app for Apple iPad, introduced the new super guide to the Blackboard Learning Module tool, kicked off an array of guides on feed readers, lifted the lid on Elluminate Plan for Blackboard Collaborate!

See the full reading list below to find out more information on everything we covered, and look out for the next eShare Guide Recap again next month.

Staff:

Staff & Students:

Feel free to post a comment on here and let us know if these guides are helping you. You can also get in touch with us at ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk or call 01695 650754 if you have any questions or would simply like to know more about our staff and student guides.

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Mark Wilcock
Learning Technology Development Officer