Sharing Presentations on the Web

6 05 2011

So, you give that brilliant slide presentation, and there’s thundering applause, and the enthralled audience asks if they can get your slides. You can do much more than that. You can actually give them the whole presentation as an online, narrated presentation . . . and for free!

I’ve long been an advocate of using online services to post narrated “slidecasts” of presentations, because the result can be an enormous increase in the audiences for your presentations. For example, when I gave a talk at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the attending audiences was about 200. But when I posted that presentation on SlideShare, the online audience grew to about 3,500.

The value of online posting was emphasized for me when I gave a talk at the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Symposium. By posting the narrated slide show on Slideboom, I was able to offer AAAS a much more effective “handout” that if I’d given them text or my PowerPoint slides. And it’s easy for people to pass the presentation URL along to others.

The references and resources section of Explaining Research lists many sites for sharing not only slide presentations but other content. The sites include Slideboom, Slideserve, Slideshare, and myBrainshark.

Even though Slideshare is the largest such service, I’ve settled on Slideboom because it has a much easier uploading and audio synchronizing capability than Slideshare, which I used previously.  With Slideshare, you upload your slides and audio separately, and then go through a laborious process of synching your audio with your slides. In contrast, with Slideboom, you use the audio recording feature of PowerPoint to record your narration right in the slide show. So, when you upload the presentation, it’s set to go.

Also, Slideboom enables you to embed video and PowerPoint animations in your show, which Slideshare does not—although Slideshare does enable you to embed YouTube videos. To include video in a Slideboom presentation, you use the free add-on, iSpring, which converts your presentation to Flash—including narration and videos—and uploads it to Slideboom.The result is a much smaller file size. For example, my AAAS slideboom presentation was 240 megabytes.

However, if you don’t need Slideboom’s video embedding capabilities, one advantage of Slideshare, is that you can embed links in your presentations, so users can explore other Web sites that you reference.

I have by no means explored all the presentation-sharing sites, and all the features of Slideshare and Slideboom, so there may be features I’ve missed. But I’ll keep exploring. For example, the services enable you to embed presentations in your WordPress blog, but I’ve not figured out how to install the plugin yet.

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