I received an email yesterday that I didn’t ever expect:  I was notified by Slideshare.net that my content on Slideshare is among the top 1% of most viewed on SlideShare in 2013. Wow! I continue to be surprised by how many folks have viewed and appreciate my slide decks and handouts that I have put up on Slideshare.

Supporting My Course

I started using Slideshare about 5 years ago when I decided to make one of my courses, IDT 7095/8095, open source as an open educational resource.  When I decided to go in that direction I tried to make sure that all of the slides and resources I used in the course were open, available, and as Creative Commons as I could make them.  As a result of this, one of my presentations on comparing instructional design models that I use in IDT 7095/8095 continues to be very well received.  It astounds me that this presentation has over 47,000 views and almost 2,000 downloads.  I decided to do the open course because I wanted this capstone course to have more of a community feel to it.  I wanted students to get the sense that our field and our course was part of a profession that they had access to.  While the course has gone through multiple iterations over the years, the OER component has remained a constant.

More Accessible

In addition to supporting my course, I’ve found that Slideshare.net has been a good place to house slide decks to make them more accessible to others.  This is particularly true of teacher professional development and higher education lectures that I’ve participated in.  I am able to share the Slideshare.net link (after I’ve shortened it with Bit.ly) directly in my presentation, so that participants can immediately access the slides if they want.  In only a couple of instances have I found that Slideshare.net has been blocked by a school, district, or university.  In one of the cases, the university was able to have it unblocked.

Easy

I’ve also found that Slideshare.net is an easy way to embed my presentations (when I want them freely available) into my blog or courses that are housed inside our university’s course management system.

Slideshare embed optionsI like that there are options for display sizes, so that the embedded slideshow player doesn’t take up too much room; options for display without related content when I don’t want students to go down another “rabbit hole”; and options for the convenience of a shortcode (code snippet) specific for WordPress blogs, which is what I use on Viral-Notebook.com.

PDF Uploads

I did find that I needed to make a change in my Slideshare.net workflow a few years ago.  Originally, I uploaded my slide decks as the original Powerpoint files, but I don’t do that anymore.  Instead, I now upload a PDF.  I made this change for a few reasons.

First, a few years ago, I discovered from the “Related Content” channel in Slideshare.net that one of my presentations had been used unexpectedly and in ways that I considered unethical.  While I do release my presentations in general as Creative Commons licensing, this presentation had been inserted wholesale into another presentation, the attribution to me had been stripped, and the original graphic design I had created had been used throughout the entire presentation.  While I was miffed, I decided I could figure out how to handle this.  I decided to go with PDFs to take care of the problem, and now, I use myself as an example to others on plagiarism, copyright, and Creative Commons.

Second, I also found that when I uploaded Powerpoint files directly into Slideshare.net my fonts did not always stay true.  This was also the case when I began using Adobe Connect a few years ago as well.  So, because I consider the graphic design of my presentations important, PDFs allowed me to control the font issue easily.

Finally and also as a result of using Slideshare.net and Adobe Connect, I found the Web 2.0, or presentations 2.0, style of slides made my Powerpoint files very large.  This caused problems inside Adobe Connect, including upload problems, upload stalls, and errors.  So, PDF-ing the files also made it easier to reduce the file size prior to upload into Slideshare.net and Connect.

How ’bout you?

Are you using Slideshare.net or another web service to host your slide decks, etc.  How’s that working for you? Or if you’ve used one of my presentations from Slideshare, I’d love to hear what you’ve done and how you’re using it. So, let me know in the comments.  I’d like to hear what your experiences have been.

About Michael M Grant

Dr. Michael M. Grant is a passionate professor, researcher, and consultant. He works with faculty members, schools and universities, and districts to integrate technology meaningfully and improve teaching and learning. When 140 characters just won't work, then he blogs here at Viral-Notebook.com. He has a beautiful wife and three equally beautiful daughters, who will change the world.

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