UWG Distance & Distributed Education Center 
Putting PowerPoint Presentations Online:
PDF, Impatica, HorizonWimba, OnCue & Other Options

I. Introduction

It is important to keep in mind, that a PowerPoint presentation used in an online course is not the same as one given by an instructor in a real classroom setting. As noted in our faculty manual, putting PowerPoint presentations online can be one of The Seven Deadly Sins. What are the options or alternatives that are easiest for you? ... for your students?

Whether used in the traditional classroom or the online environment, use good design principles. See this demonstration: Power Pointless (a PPT that demonstrates good and bad design)

Also, here are some additional rules-of-thumb to keep in mind when adding PowerPoint presentations to online courses:

1. Provide a narrative - either an audio narration or speaker notes. In the online versions, there might be more text to explain certain points. For example, instructors may want to include speakers notes that actually provide a narrative that students can read in the online version

2. Keep it simple - design for the lowest connection speed. Remember that the online versions will be sent across the Internet. Keep in mind that many students use slower dial-up connections. If your PowerPoint presentations include images, it is best to keep the file sizes of these images as small as possible. The overall size of the resulting PowerPoint presentation will be smaller, which means that the online version will also be smaller (and can therefore be downloaded faster). Many instructors probably don't consider image file size when creating PowerPoint presentations since they usually plan to deliver these in class. File size is an important issue in the online environment. Just about any graphics program (e.g., PhotoShop) will be able to optimize graphics for online delivery. Some of the options below will also decrease file size significantly...

Option Sample Instructions Pros/Cons
1. Native PowerPoint
(.ppt or .pps files)
Sample PowerPoint presentation (.ppt file) Native Powerpoint Easy to print as desired; but, you are giving away the work, large file size means tedious download, students must have PPT or viewer = easy for you; hard for some students
2. PowerPoint via Web Pages
(HTML)

Text-Only PowerPoint web example

Text with some Vital Images web example

PowerPoint 97 web example

PowerPoint 2000 web example

PowerPoint 2002 web example

Text-Only PowerPoint

Text with some Vital Images

PowerPoint 97

PowerPoint 2000

PowerPoint 2002

Text-only is a best option if it will suffice to deliver the intended message; web-ready presentations with images are next best, if images are optimized to smallest possible size; PPT saved as a Webpage are better than just a plain 'ol Native PPT but sometimes run better on IE than other browsers and sometimes the large file size is still problematic = harder for you; easier for students
3. PowerPoint via PDF
(slides and handouts)
Sample PDF presentation

PowerPoint as a PDF

Free PDF program called CutePDF

Smaller file size then 1st two options, work is retained, you can opt to provide the PDF to print as many slides to the page as desired, but, student needs Acrobat Reader plug-in= easy for you; hard for some students
4. PowerPoint via Impatica
(narrated or not, archived)

Impatica demo presentation

Sample Impaticized narrated presentation

Short How-To Handout

Online Tutorials Show You How

Complete User's Guide

Complete Manual and Tips

Smallest of file sizes; allows you to easily add narration, incorporate the speaker notes, retain animation and still deliver without any plug-in needed other than the same Java required of WebCT anyway, work retained; but, students must print one slide at a time = easier for students than option 1; easier for you than option 2
5. PowerPoint via OnCue
(narrated, archived)

OnCue demo presentation

OnCue presentation with video VS. without video

Short How-To

Complete User's Guide

Complete Manual

Smaller file sizes; allows you to add narration synchronized with video, incorporate the speaker notes, retain animation and provides a navigation Index, without any plug-in needed other than the same Java required of WebCT anyway, work retained; but, students must print one slide at a time = easier for students than option 1; highest quality production but harder for you than any other option
6. PowerPoint via HorizonWimba
(narrated, live or archived)

Sample HorizonWimba presentation

Sign-up for a LIVE lecture

HorizonWimba Faculty Manual Deliver presentation LIVE and the ability to archive for later viewing, provides other interactive tools like 2-way audio, instant polling, text messaging, chat, application-sharing, whieboard mark-up, and video options. Can be hardest on students and faculty but clearly the best sychronous option.

II. Native PowerPoint (.ppt files)

Probably the easiest way place a PowerPoint presentation into an online course is to simply upload the native PowerPoint presentation; i.e., the version used when giving a lecture (the .ppt file). The main advantage of this approach is that it requires no extra conversion step; the .ppt file is simply uploaded. Another advantage is that your students will be to easily access all the slides and print out the presentation in any format they want. This means less work for you in creating alternate versions (more on this later).

This sounds great, but there are a number of disadvantages:

1. To view the native PowerPoint file, your students will need to have PowerPoint installed on their computers (or the free PowerPoint for Windows viewer that Microsoft provides). If your students do not have PowerPoint, they will not able to view your presentation.

2. Let's say that your students have PowerPoint. Students who use Internet Explorer as their web browser will be able to click on the link for your presentation and have it seamlessly loaded directly into their browsers. However, students using Netscape as their browser will not experience anything that can be described as seamless. When Netscape users click on a link representing a native PowerPoint file, they will get an alert saying that Netscape does not know what this file is. The only real option is to save the file. These users will then need to open the .ppt file in PowerPoint. Why is this? The Netscape browser is not a Microsoft product. Internet Explorer and PowerPoint work well together because they are Microsoft products. So by placing the native PowerPoint presentation into your online course, you will be creating a situation where one group of students (Internet Explorer users) experiences one thing, while another group (Netscape users) experiences something else. Creating different user experiences in web-based courses is definitely something to be avoided. It can lead to confusion, and will require you to have to provide your students with instructions.

3. Placing the native .ppt file into your online course essentially gives the entire presentation away to your students. They will have the actual presentation and can do what they want with it. There have been reports of faculty seeing slides from their PowerPoint presentations used by others.

Try it out for yourself. The following link will bring up a native PowerPoint presentation. Click on the link to see how your web browser on your computer responds. You may also want to try accessing the link using different web browsers (Internet Explorer, Netscape).

III. PowerPoint as Web Pages (HTML)

A PowerPoint presentation can be converted into a series of web pages (i.e., a web version). The main advantage of created a web version of a PowerPoint presentation is that students using any web browser - Internet Explorer or Netscape - can view it without any difficulties. The web version will also download more quickly than the native PPT file. By using a web version instead of the native PowerPoint presentation (the .ppt file), you are also not giving away your entire presentation. A disadvantage of this approach is that it does take a few extra steps to create the web version. Also, your students will not be able to print out the web version, although you can mitigate this problem by creating a handout version of your presentation (to be discussed in the next section).

PowerPoint comes with an easy-to-use wizard for generating web versions of presentations. The DDEC has created step-by-step instructions, complete with examples and demos, on how to create a web version of a PowerPoint presentation, and then how to move the web version into your WebCT course.

IV. PowerPoint as PDF (slides and handouts)

There is yet another option for bringing PowerPoint presentations into WebCT online courses - converting them into PDF files. PDF stands for "Portable Document Format." PDF files represent a major file type in use on the web today. If you have ever downloaded an article from an online journal, chances are good that it was in PDF format. PDF file are also called Acrobat files, since a program called Acrobat Reader is used to view them. This separate program - produced by Adobe Systems - is already installed on most users' computers. Acrobat Reader is as ubiquitous as a web browser, so you can expect that your students already have it loaded on their computers (and if not, it can easily and freely downloaded). This is a major advantage of using the PDF format for delivering PowerPoint presentations in WebCT online courses. You can also create different PDF versions of your presentations. For example, you can create a one PDF version where a single PowerPoint slide appears on each page. You can also create a handout version, where three or six slides appear on each page. Here are some examples:

V. Narrated PowerPoint Presentations (live and archived)

We have discussed various methods to place PowerPoint presentations into online courses. What's missing from each of these methods is the ability to listen to the instructor actually give the lecture, as one would in the normal classroom environment. There are a number of ways to create a narrated PowerPoint presentation.

Record Narration in PowerPoint (archived solution)

You can actually record narration from within PowerPoint itself. Go to the "Slide Show" menu, and select "Record Narration." Of course, you also will need to make sure a microphone is connected to your computer. You then simply give your presentation -- PowerPoint will record your narration with each slide. If you place your native PowerPoint presentation online, your students will be able to listen to your narration when they view it. One problem with this approach, however, is that the file size of the presentation may now be much larger now that it includes narration. Students on slower Internet connections may have to wait longer to download the presentation. For this reason, the DDEC does not support narrated PowerPoints online UNLESS the instructor takes it one step further and uses Impatica for PowerPoint (see below...)

Impatica for PowerPoint (archived solution)

Impatica is a software program than converts your PowerPoint presentation -- even those with recorded narration -- into a web-based version that has been optimized for viewing over the web. They play well over all types of Internet connections -- from fast DSL/cable broadband connections to dial-up connections. Presentations converted using Impatica do not require any special plug-in to be viewed -- they play directly in your web browser. Also, Impaticized presentations cannot be copied, if you are concerned about giving away your PowerPoint presentations.

Converting PowerPoint presentations is simple. You first create your presentation as you normally would using PowerPoint. If you want to include narration with your presentation, you can record it from within PowerPoint, as described above. When you are ready to convert it, simply run it through the Impatica application. Impatica will create three files than you simply upload to your web site or course.

Impatica for PowerPoint is available in some Labs, for instructors who wish to convert their narrated PowerPoint presentations. Scroll up to view a demo and get instructions. Contact the DDEC for more information.

HorizonWimba for PowerPoint (live and archived solution)

HorizonLive is a software program that allows instructors to present PowerPoint and other multi-media objects live online to students in their home. Students can hear the instructor and in some cases ask questions with live-two-way audio or chat. HorizonLive also allows the ability to poll students and quiz them, on the fly. Finally, all that takes place in a live session can be archived for later review. HorizonLive does require the QuickTime player plug-in and firewall free streaming ability.

OnCue

OnCue empowers you to deliver effective online communications quickly and easily. It provides a simple solution for the production and delivery of synchronized video and PowerPoint presentations combined with searchable text, dynamic indexing and navigation. OnCue enables you to focus on your message, knowing that you will reach your entire audience with one solution. The playback is hassle-free, so your audience doesn't need to install any plug-ins or applications to receive your message. In fact, they don't even need a high-speed Internet connection.

Instructions not linked above
 Option Instructions

 1. Native .ppt file

Upload the original .ppt file, for students to download

(--or send as an Mail or Discussion Board attachment)

 make sure .ppt filename contains no spaces or illegal characters > upload > create a link from which students can access the file

A .ppt file can be added using a URL WebCT tool, a Single Page WebCT tool, or Content Module (multiple pages of content, presented in a Table of Contents) WebCT tool.

2. text - only .html file

For .PPT presentations that are mostly just text with "fluff" images, simply upload the outline text version instead of the full presentation

(--or send as an Mail or Discussion Board attachment)

 open the .ppt file > choose the "outline view icon" in bottom left > highlight all desired content > copy > paste into Netscape Composer page or other .html editor > edit, if desired > save > upload > create a link from which students can access the file

OR...

if using PowerPoint 2000 or 2002, go to File > Send to... > Microsoft Word. Choose a the Outline layout. The layout opens in Word. Save the file as a webpage, as noted in 2000 and 2002 directions below in options #6 and #7.

A text only PowerPoint saved as HTML, can be added using a URL WebCT tool, a Single Page WebCT tool, or Content Module (mutliple pages of content, presented in a Table of Contents) WebCT tool.

3. text w/ some vital images .html file

Same as above, but include any vital images or charts

 Same as above, but also go to each slide with a desired image or chart and save each individually as an image file (.gif or .jpeg for photos) > insert each image file int .html file > re-save > zip > upload > unzip > create a link from which students can access the file

A text w/ some images PowerPoint saved as HTML, can be added using a URL WebCT tool, a Single Page WebCT tool, or Content Module (mutliple pages of content, presented in a Table of Contents) WebCT tool.

 4. .pdf file

Can easily include text and images; but only B & W

(--or send as an Mail or Discussion Board attachment)

 open the .ppt file > choose "print" > choose > "adobe .pdf writer" as the printer > at prompt, name and save file > upload > create a link from which students can access the file

FREE!!! Acrobat Writer is costly -- but there is a FREE option. To create PDF files, try this free program called CutePDF.

A PowerPoint saved as .pdf, can be added using a URL WebCT tool, a Single Page WebCT tool, or Content Module (multiple pages of content, presented in a Table of Contents) WebCT tool.

 5. .html using Office '97

Most traditional way of putting presentations online

Uses '97's "Save As HTML" feature

 detailed instructions, including screen shots, are found here:http://www.westga.edu/~distance/pptinwebct.html

A PowerPoint saved as HTML using Office 97, can be added using a URL WebCT tool, a Single Page WebCT tool, or Content Module (mutliple pages of content, presented in a Table of Contents) WebCT tool.

PowerPoint 97 will produce presentations that are more browser and WebCT friendly.

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/pptinwebct.html

Please note - these instructions above are for PPT '97 only. Also note that as of Jan 2003, there is a second option for uploading files: Use the NEW Drag-n-Drop file transfer tool called WebDav

6. .html (with .xml) using Office 2000

Uses 2000's "Save As WebPage" feature

Detailed instructions, including screen shots, are found here:

A PowerPoint saved as HTML using Office 2000, can be added using a URL WebCT tool, or a Single Page WebCT tool.

A PowerPoint saved as HTML using Office 2000 can NOT be added to a Content Module (multiple pages of content, presented in a Table of Contents) WebCT tool.

Also note that as of Jan 2003, there is a second option for uploading files: Use the NEW Drag-n-Drop file transfer tool called WebDav

7. .html (with .xml) using Office 2002 or XP

New way of putting presentations online

Uses 2002's "Save As WebPage" feature; BUT be sure to Save as Webpage, Filtered

detailed instructions, including screen shots, are found here:
powerpoint_intr.htm

A PowerPoint saved as HTML using Office 2002, can be added using a URL WebCT tool, or a Single Page WebCT tool.

A PowerPoint saved as HTML using Office 2002 can NOT be added to a Content Module (multiple pages of content, presented in a Table of Contents) WebCT tool.

Also note that as of Jan 2003, there is a second option for uploading files: Use the NEW Drag-n-Drop file transfer tool called WebDav