SoftChalk is a great tool to “chunk up” course content as well as adding engaging activities about your course material. SoftChalk has taken engagement to a new level by offering the ability to upload PowerPoint presentations with the addition of adding voice over audio to each slide. This additional tool is great for a distance learning course, as an instructor can lecture by recording audio snippets and then place the audio over individual slides via SoftChalk. SoftChalk gives you a similar ability to what other screencast products do, but all directly from within a SoftChalk module. By adding a voice over PowerPoint presentation to a SoftChalk unit, this can be very helpful for students, as SoftChalk keeps all the unit materials in one location. Therefore, students do not have to search in multiple places on a course site to receive the course material.
How does this work?
When saving a PowerPoint presentation, you have the ability to save the file in multiple formats. Save your PowerPoint presentation as individual JPEG files. Using voice recording software like Audacity, record an audio segment for each slide, saving each audio piece as an MP3 file. Be sure to save the audio files with a similar name as the topic of the PowerPoint slide the audio is matched to. Open up SoftChalk, and in the menu bar select Insert/Activity/Slideshow. Each PowerPoint slide you saved as a JPEG will be added as a new slide in SoftChalk. When uploading the JPEG file you will then have the ability to upload your MP3 audio file. Once you have uploaded all slides and audio clips, your slide show is now finished and can be easily watched within a SoftChalk module.
This concept can not only be done with PowerPoint presentations but as well with any type of file that can be saved as a JPEG file (e.g., pictures).
Watch the tutorial video below from SofthChalk’s website for more specific instructions on how to add voice over PowerPoint slides to a SoftChalk unit.
The best part about the ACAdemic training I received at the end of last semester was the confidence it gave me to go out and try new approaches for how to bring the information and ideas I convey to my students. In a very non-threatening environment with responsive assistance, I was tasked with creating new communication forums, different lesson approaches, and just an overall creative vision of how I interact with my students in both online classes and in my face-to-face sessions.
One significant take-away I had was that the changes don’t have to drastic to be effective; sometimes just giving students some options will help them think different and try harder. Students learn in a variety of ways and appreciate when we make an effort to reach them in innovative ways. My experience with ACAdemic was so positive, I’ve incorporated many ideas already this summer, and I’m eager to introduce some new perspectives for the new semester. Several students wrote to tell me that they enjoyed the new, creative activities I incorporated as a direct result of ACAdemic.
Part of what we did to introduce ourselves in ACAdemic was to create a 30-second film clip using a very user-freindly website called Animoto. This summer I had my online literature students analyze a poem using images and music on this site for a daily grade. Almost all of the students turned in the assignment much earlier than the deadline (that doesn’t happen very often!) and several students mentioned how much they liked the project despite initial misgivings about understanding the technology. Here’s a sample with a representative student comment:
I really like this assignment a lot! My video is over Wordsworth’s poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud.” Here is the link to it: http://animoto.com/play/VWgrQNLVe0Pr1ykZ42iqjw
San Jacinto College will be a participating member of the Freeware Project led by Dallas Community College District’s LeCroy Center and funded by the Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE). The grant will be exploring the concept of open courseware.
Through its Dallas TeleLearning operation, the LeCroy Center will work with select colleges to offer nationally recognized multi-media courses developed by the LeCroy Center at no cost to the participating college. These courses are pedagogically sound, available totally online and developed with Quality Matters standards. Participating colleges will help document successes and identify barriers that will lead to Best Practices in the open courseware movement.
If you are interested in more information on this project contact Niki Whiteside or Sherry Nixon-Ransdell.