Free Microsoft SkyDrive Upgrade

29 06 2010

Email sent to me on 25th June: “Within the next seven days, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade your Microsoft Office Live Workspace beta account to Windows Live SkyDrive. The service will remain free, and all of your documents and sharing permissions will be retained.

With your SkyDrive account you can:

  • Access and share documents and photos from virtually anywhere.*
  • Take advantage of up to 25 GB of online storage.
  • Use Microsoft Office Web Apps to view and edit documents within a supported Web browser.*

* An appropriate device, Internet connection, and Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari browser are required.”

Managing critical knowledge in higher education

25 06 2010

One of the leads that I have from the Digital Learning Net jiscmail list is the area of mind mapping software, some links below:

Digital Learning Network (DLnet)

25 06 2010

I have just joined the Digital Learning Network (DLnet), having formerly been a member of the E-Learning Group for Museums, Libraries and Archives. I didn’t realise it had been so long since I had last been on one of their excellent training courses, I must have been a bit out of the loop. Martin Bazley forwarded my survey email to the DLnet jiscmail list so I am very grateful for the responses I have had to it there.

What happens when the presentation is over?

25 06 2010

Mike Ellis, Research & Innovation Group, eduserv responded to my post on the Museums Computer Group list, and provided some great leads to consider in my research, my favourite quote is:

Once I’ve delivered my talk, I upload to my Slideshare space (, tweet about them, embed on my blog, etc etc. I also make sure that the slides are marked as CC, and that any images I use are CC and credited accordingly. By doing this the conversation about the topic is encouraged to continue beyond the walls of the presentation venue.

CC = Creative Commons

This relates to some of the research I have done on classroom and screencasting technologies i.e. what happens after the presentation – is it recorded? and can it be played back or shared?

Mike also provided the following links:

Custom Image Slide Layout

24 06 2010

Many people seek to use PowerPoint as a slide show i.e. to display good quality images as large as possible and without any text on the PowerPoint slide. This is one bit of feedback that has arisen in both the questionnaire results so far, and in talking with people generally.

This is one approach, using Microsoft PowerPoint 2007, to create a custom image slide layout:

  • Select the View tab from the menu ‘ribbon’.
  • Select Slide Master View.
  • Select Insert Layout.
  • In the slide that appears remove any boxes by hovering over until cross-hairs are displayed over the lines, then right-click on the lines, i.e. not inside the box, and select ‘Cut’.
  • Click Insert Placeholder and choose ‘Picture’. With the cross-hair that appears draw a box as large as the image you would like to display.
  • Choose Rename and add a name in the dialogue box e.g. Custom Image Layout
  • Click View tab and select Normal view. Then click the Home tab.
  • Select the existing slide and choose Layout – Custom Image Layout.
  • Click the picture icon in the middle of the new layout to add a picture, it should scale to the image placeholder. Delete the picture.
  • NB: if the image is not of a good enough quality it may pixelate if the image placeholder is too large.
  • To ensure you can use the custom slide layout in future presentations make sure to choose Save As Template from the Office Button menu
  • In the dialogue box when you choose Save As Type: PowerPoint Template the location should change to save in the Microsoft Templates folder. Save as something e.g. Custom Image Template
  • Next time you open PowerPoint and want to use this Custom Image Template, select the Office Button, choose New, select My Templates in the dialogue box, and choose the Custom Image Template.

Distributing Teaching Presentations

24 06 2010

JISC Digital Media continue to provide great up-to-date and new guides, such as this one published in June, which “…looks at the ways teaching presentations can be distributed to their end users”.

Interim Project Report – Lessons Learned

23 06 2010

I recently submitted the interim project report, this was a good opportunity to reflect on lessons learned, see extracts below:

What worked well

  • My approach to recording time spent on the project: I have a simple spreadsheet that sets out the project plan and records tasks and time spent and dependencies/factors that may affect completion. I have kept a ‘control’ copy i.e. the first version of the spreadsheet from the beginning of the project, and I have another version which is continually updated. It will be useful to compare the two at the end of the project to inform future timetabling.
  • Any meetings with, or input from Karen Paton, the University for the Creative Art’s Academic Developer in Learning and Teaching Research were invaluable and very fruitful.

What I would improve next time

  • I would breakdown each task into smaller components in order to more accurately judge the project timetable, and particularly to allow more time for analysis and writing reports.
  • I would seek to be clearer on the detail of the methodology from the beginning; I do now have a better understanding that will inform this.
  • I would aim to have better timekeeping by establishing early on what aspects were out of the limitations of the project and accepting this rather than trying to fit more and more into the project scope.

Research approach for questionnaire/survey

23 06 2010

After discussion with my colleagues I have decided to avoid the mass email with apologies for cross postings approach. I am going to very specifically target the questionnaire/survey to as many of my contacts as possible. I am aware this will take a lot longer from my end, but I hope that it will result in a higher response rate.

Visual presentation technology survey

16 06 2010

This questionnaire will help provide information to be shared with the visual arts community as part of this research project. The questionnaire should take approximately 7 minutes to complete depending on whether you answer 12 or all 15 questions.

The specific research area is image presentation software and how resources can be better adapted to existing pedagogic practice. I would like to hear from all those who use, support others use of, or would like to use, presentation technology in their current role, particularly to present or teach about images or the visual arts, including: academic staff, support staff, librarians, information managers, slide librarians, visual resource curators, museums and gallery staff, and IT staff.

Any data received will be treated as anonymous and held confidentially. Further details and a copy of the final report are available on request (see the end of the survey for details).

Good Practice Guide for Elluminate Live

8 06 2010

As a JISC online conference attendee I have been a participant in the Elluminate Live virtual environment. I have just noticed this really useful piece providing more information about Elluminate Live, including a recording made using the software.

What is striking about Elluminate Live and other virtual meeting spaces or classroom software is the similarity of their Graphical User Interface (GUI). I have also had demos of, or used: and Wimba Classroom.