We have created Powerpoint files for our classes, we have made these files available to our class to accompany the lecture, and prehaps we have added these Powerpoint files to the VULA (LMS) site which accompanies the course, but is this the end of the line for our valuable educational resources??
What if certain slides of your presentation could be valuable to someone teaching a similar course in Mombassa, Kenya? Or a colleague based at another university. How would you get the slides to them? You could email them but this creates a host of issues if your version changes or changes are made by your colleague. What if you could set up a collaborative plane for many people to share and collaborate on one presentation?
You can. Educational resources no longer have to remain static documents stored in filing cabinets or under piles of textbooks-well, they still are in most cases but they just don’t have to be! We live in a world where new information and communication technologies are creating opportunities for collaboration which we, as academics, have been slow or hesitant to adopt. The time is now to introduce these tools to enchance our teaching practice and as some would argue, adopt them as standard practice.
Google Docs is a web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and form application offered by Google. We encourage you to explore all of these tools when working in a collaborative environment. In doing so you can tell others you are utilising cloud computing-whats that?; Software and storage capability online. This means you can access and work on your documents from any computer on the internet. You don’t have to worry about them being on your memory stick, and you can send the link to colleagues to collaborate on a shared document.
All that is required is a Gmail account, which nowadays is very simple to get. The Gmail account identifies you and is used to identify your documents and permissions.
Google Docs Presentations works just like Microsoft PowerPoint, which we are all familiar with. One can start building a new presentation online, or upload an existing presentation from PowerPoint.
We will start by uploading a presentation that we have on our computer onto Google Docs so that we can share it and work collaboratively. Click the "Upload" button to begin uploading a document.
Choose the file to be uploaded from your local computer or disc and click the Upload File button. Google Docs will reconize what type of office file it is and create a version of it online.
Once the file has been uploaded you can begin to work on it just as you would using Microsoft PowerPoint. There are a few features missing such as animations and transitions but (in this writer's opinion); these were often overused to the point of distracting features of PowerPoint.
Your document is automatically saved every few seconds so you do not have to fear losing it or constantly saving manually. When you are done editing your presentation you can click on “Docs Home” to get to the docs home page. Here all of your documents are listed and available to work on, share, email, download, etc.
When you right click on a filename you can see some of the available options for managing this particular document. There are some useful options here, such as convert to PDF, sharing, publish, and even download as PPT - should you want to work with the presentation again in PowerPoint.
From the document management page you can also share the document. By sharing the document you allow others to make changes to the file and contribute material, slides, ideas or media. We are still testing concurrent collaboration, but it seems as if many people can be working on the same presentation at the same time, so it is great for rapid development of presentations.
I am inviting Cheryl to this document as she is the original creator. Once Cheryl accepts she can start making edits to the online document that I will see next time I view it.
If you choose to publish the document, you make it available to anyone in the world with an internet connection. You will be given a web address which can be accessed by anyone.
Once you confirm the publishing this presentation is now published and we can use the web link given to us to share it with colleagues. We can also use the link in an OER directory service such as OER Commons to describe the contents of the presentation and make it searchable on the internet.