September 16, 2010
Have you ever viewed a website that had an interesting article with a well designed layout but when you tried to print it out it lost all the formatting, printing with a tiny font size and several extra pages of text that have nothing to do with the article? Well – PDFmyURL.com to the rescue! This website allows you to make a pdf of the website that looks exactly like the website – and it’s FREE! Of course, there are a couple of limitations like it prints out in landscape orientation and it has a watermark. If that bugs you, you can pay $12.50 to get an account that allows you to customize.
Noticed in ProfHacker blog in The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 21, 2010
We looked at two conversion programs that change PowerPoint presentation into Flash files. Why would you want to do this? Because it solves a couple problems that come with distributing PowerPoint presentations. First, it makes it easy to email as an attachment and eliminates download issues. Second, it makes it difficult for the recipients to change or edit the presentation. And finally it allows you to share the presentation online to make it accessible and searchable.
The programs we looked at all have a free downloads and are available for an upgrade (called Pro versions) for a fee.
- AuthorPOINT Lite is a free PowerPoint to flash converter that outputs an SWF file as well as generates a link to the presentation on authorSTREAM’s server. This allows the user to share a url or an embed link to the presentation in flash format. To begin, download and install authorPOINT Lite here. You will be asked to have an account on authorSTREAM so you can join here. Once that is complete, you can enter your email and password into the Upload box in authorPOINT and sign in. Import your PowerPoint into authorPOINT Lite. Your presentation will be uploaded to your new account on authorSTREAM. During the import process, authorPOINT automatically outputs an SWF file to a designated location. In order for the presentation to play, though, one needs all of the files and folders associated with the index.swf file (except for the .js file) located in the same folder. Once the presentation is imported, the user can Upload the file to authorSTREAM’s website. There you can grab the url or embed link to share your presentation with others.
- E.M. PowerPoint Video Converter is an easy to use program that will easily convert PowerPoint presentations to video or image form. The free version will allow you convert to avi, wmv, mpg, bmp, or mp3 without a watermark. E.M. PowerPoint Video Converter functions independent from PowerPoint. The user can open or drag and drop a PowerPoint presentation into the square file list. The user then must choose the file format the presentation will be converted to. Then there are a few options the user can choose from. The user can add audio to the presentation, decided the transition time between each slide, and choose the size of the video for example. Then all you do is hit Convert and E.M. will do the rest. When the conversion is finished, the containing folder will open up and the user will be able to see the converted presentation.
We had previously been recommending the freeware program iSpring as a PowerPoint to flash converter but have since found out the free version is for private or personal use only. You can purchase the Pro version here.
May 26, 2009
One of the main difficulties in web-based communication is that each person is looking at their own screen. Often, it is just so much easier to share you’re screen with someone else. Whether picture or video, Jing “adds visuals to your online conversations!”
Jing (website here) is a free download that lets you easily capture pictures or video and share them instantly with other people. Start by downloading the free program from their website (runs on both Macs and PC’s!). Use the easy menus to capture still pictures or videos right off your screen. Jing provides you with a simple link: just copy and paste to share your multimedia with students, friends, or family! Upgrade to Jing pro (for a fee) to share high quality video on youtube and other video sharing sites.
- Screen capture
- Hosts all the multimedia for easy sharing
- Instant sharing with others
Jing has a TON of uses. Easily show students, parents, or family members how to complete tasks. Create slideshows from pictures, or use it to collaborate on multimedia projects. Easily posts to twitter or facebook! Best of all, its easy to use!
We’ve started to incorporate Jing into our help-calls. Using Jing, we can quickly create a video walking users through a specific problem. Instead of sending the whole video, we only have to share the link through Screencast.com. How are you using Jing?
April 16, 2009
In the expanding global environment it is becoming increasingly important to make sure everyone is connected. Web-conferencing has become a vital tool for companies and other groups as a means to collaborate with one another without being physically together.
Dimdim is an excellent free web-conferencing utility that allows for up to 20 participants in each session. The host signs up for an account via their website and then can send e-mail invitations to other attendees. One of the greatest features is that the participants in the conference do not have to sign up for an individual account to access the meeting. All they have to do is click on the link they received in their e-mail and enter a name to be used in the session.
Some of the key features of Dimdim include:
- up to 20 participants
- Host has video sharing via webcam, while all others share VoIP connections
- Host can share their computer screen, upload a PDF or PPT file, access a website or create a whiteboard for collaboration
- Leadership can be passed to any of the attendees allowing them to share things with the group
- Ability to record meetings allows you to go back and highlight key moments from the session
- compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems to ensure that everyone can participate
So this utility is obviously useful for multi-location business but nobody else right? WRONG! Any creative person could find an effective use for Dimdim. The application particularly lends itself to the educational environment. For example, professors could host web meetings to supplement lectures and develop review sessions.
If this is something you are interested in, follow the link to the Dimdim User Guide
March 5, 2009
Audio content is an effective but underused teaching and learning resource. Using Audacity, an open source sound editor, instructors can quickly and easily create audio content for use in HuskyCT, PowerPoint, and even Podcasting. Creating audio files provides a valuable resource for students looking for extra reference or more in-depth explanation. Providing content in forms other than text is often more efficient and effective, but it also has benefits for students who may learn better from what they hear than what they read.
The following slideshow was presented at a recent IRC workshop given by Janet Jordan and Steve McDermott on February 25th, 2009 highlighting creation and usage of audio files in an educational setting.