In the MA I am studying, we are currently preparing for on online conference where we will each present a paper, multimedia artefact or activity along the theme of open education. Clearly, it is critical that we focus not just on the quality of our presentation, but the journey to get there and what we learn along the way. Our task at the moment is to create a “multimedia poster” for the conference. Posters are, of course, very common at academic conference, although it seems to me that the term poster is being used quite loosely here. We need to create something to generate interest in our proposal and, provided it can be taken in within five minutes and doesn’t exceed 20MB, pretty much anything goes.
This is a bit scary, but also quite exciting and I am trying to take the opportunity to experiment with multimedia tools and learn about them. I have even set up a YouTube channel to hold the results of these experiments. I did a crash course in Prezi, which is a pretty trendy tool, and can see that it provides variety from Powerpoint, but otherwise can be quite frustrating to use. I also discovered Animoto, which offers an intriguing “painting by numbers” approach to creating videos but the results can be very impressive. I’m sure I will return to this tool.
In the end, however, I fell back on Powerpoint, which after all is a very powerful tool. The problem is that slides are often filled with text and it is essentially used as a proxy for written documents. In response to some initial feedback, I have tried to jazz up my presentation, and the results can be seen here:
The effect is a bit different to the usual academic presentation (although I hope it is still rigorous), and I am still not sure if the music engages the viewer or trivialises the comment. But then the whole point of exercises like this is to experiment a bit, and I am open to views as to whether this works, or how it could be improved.
One other issue we need to consider in putting our presentation together is accessibility. A presentation like this is clearly not much use to someone with a serious visual impairment. There are a number of options to deal with this, but I chose to record a podcast which covers the same content in audio format. There is also an opportunity here to experience how the same message may be received very differently when it is expressed using different media. To listen to the audio version, click here.
These drafts are currently being made available for peer review, so please do let me know if you have comments or feedback on them, and I hope to develop these ideas more fully both for the H818 online conference, and in a more public forum later on.