In the previous article we saw how to use Office Mix to convert a PowerPoint presentation into a rich, interactive multimedia experience.
We will see additional features like Quizzes, Video content and Analytics of viewing in this article.
Don’t just teach – assess the learning
Earlier we had to use lot of add-ins (some of them paid) to add quizzing capabilities to PowerPoint presentations. Now with Office Mix, you can easily add them from the Quizzes Video Apps button in the Mix ribbon. First of all add a new blank slide and then click on this button.
Click on it to display available applications from the Office App Store. These are created by Microsoft Office Labs.
Choose the type and add it. You have to Trust It first.
This one allows you to create a traditional MCQ kind of quiz. You can have one or more than one correct choices. Each choice can have an explanation which is shown after the answer is submitted.
Now it will insert a placeholder where you can edit and preview the quiz contents.
When it is published, the quiz will render itself and provide hint as well as the details about each answer. The green tick mark shows the correct answer. You need to set it while creating the quiz.
Free response quiz is just a question with a descriptive answer. You can see the answers in the analytics section of Office Mix web site.
Another useful addition is the availability of video content from the following …
The last one is just a web browser embedded inside PowerPoint – with only one limitation – the link must be HTTPS (secure web page). Preview it to ensure the link is working.
Khan Academy content allows you to choose from a library of topics.
Similar content is available from other providers as well. Office Mix was primarily developed with teachers and educators. Hence the content is primarily academic in focus. However, I am sure more content may be added as Mix becomes a popular hub for training programs across industries and roles.
This is the interesting part. Once you create the mix and invite people it shows the activity happening by user or by slide. Slide by slide summary is important if you want to see quiz results. User level activity is important if you want to assess the overall viewing pattern and popularity.
User level information shows the following:
Quiz answers are broken down by user, click on each quiz slide to see details. However, if you want to evaluate specific people, you must not have public – anonymous access. You must activate sharing which requires sign-in so that you can identify each person / student.
Practical Considerations while using Mix
Please note that as of now (8th May 2014), Mix is in preview stage. Therefore, some of the features and UI may change in future.
- Create presentations with Mix in mind
- Some part of the presentation just needs to be shown and some needs to be explained
- If you are using annotation, think how you are going to highlight things and why
- Practice it a couple of times beforehand
- Create a script, try it out and practice speaking while annotating the slide
- Annotation with mouse is difficult and it takes longer than using touch or stylus
- If possible use a tablet or touch device. Stylus produces best annotation results
- During the recording
- Use a good quality microphone and a sound free room. Remember that these sound files are embedded inside each slide. You cannot save them as external files, perform some noise reduction and reinsert them into the presentation. Therefore, the base audio recording itself must be with minimal noise.
- If you are using a tablet with stylus, use external microphone – do not use the internal microphone because it will also pickup the sounds of the stylus touching and moving on the screen.
- Do not over-annotate. Use annotation only if it is adding specific meaning or making something simpler to understand. Remember this is PowerPoint and we have a great collection of transitions, animation effects, graphic capabilities and SmartArt. Use all those which are relevant but do not use technology just because it is available.
- After recording
- Decide whether you want a video or not. If you want people to view on mobile devices, video is necessary. Video can also be distributed using other channels.
- But video does not include quiz options. So you have to choose what you want.
- You can upload and then create a video separately as well
- Remember that if you edit the presentation after uploading, it will be another mix. Existing mix will still be shown. Remember to delete older version entries.
- After uploading
- The PowerPoint file name becomes the mix name. Edit it if necessary as soon as you upload to the Mix site.
- Remember to view the analytics periodically and perform the evaluation quickly if you have some assessment quizzes included. If necessary, communicate the results of assessment to the participants / parents / organizational contacts as per the context.
Promoting the content
Even if your content is great, people have to see it and get attracted to it. Therefore, apart from making great content, you must also have a plan for publicizing it. I have seen many people with great content never get the attention, recognition, views and fame they deserve simply because they never did anything about marketing their content.
Don’t fall into that trap. At least 30% of your attention should be focused on increasing visibility of the content. I cannot tell you how to promote it, but do something – don’t think that great content will automatically attract millions of users. It does not!
Quick comparison with other tools
This comparison is based upon my existing knowledge. I have not performed a comprehensive search and in-depth analysis of various available tools.
Camtasia and Screencast.com obviously come to mind here. Camtasia is a full featured screen capture and video editing tool. If published as Flash it supports quizzing and interactivity. In its field, this is the best application I know and use for many years now. Camtasia also has a PowerPoint add-in which allows you to have audio recording capability. This recorder does NOT allow you to annotate while presenting. It is done at the video editing stage.
Mix is not even attempting to compete with Camtasia. Mix adds immediate and usable functionality for existing presentations. It also uses the new Office App model very well to add Quiz functionality – which I am sure will be extended with more apps in the future. A great opportunity for developers out there.
Both of them have a web site for sharing. Analytics of Mix is more granular and out-of-the-box. Screencast.com requires Google analytics to be integrated with it.
Of course, Camtasia costs 179 to 299 USD where as Mix is available for free (to be fair, we must consider the cost of procuring PowerPoint 2013).
Another great product, which does work in a fashion similar to Mix – slide by slide. Amazing and extremely powerful capabilities for creating professional grade and complex learning content.
Again, Mix is not a comparison considering that Captivate is costly and difficult to learn. Only professional content creators use it in practice. Whereas PowerPoint is widely available and therefore Mix is giving the capability of self-content-creation to all subject matter experts.
This also is a comparison – it does allow annotation and some amount of interactivity. But once you use Mix you will realize the difference. In Mix, the content, annotation, videos, quizzes or audio is all done in Pre-Production stage. Whereas in case of YouTube, many things are managed after the video is uploaded – which is cumbersome.
Try Office Mix yourself
Try it out and let me know your feedback. In future, I will write some articles exclusively using Mix.