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Putting PowerPoint handouts in D2L

This document describes four formats for PowerPoint presentations in D2L content. They are:

  • The Powerpoint file saved in a handout format as a PDF file,
  • The Powerpoint file, itself,
  • The PowerPoint presentation converted to a third-party show, usually to include narration.

Putting PowerPoint handouts on the web:

Many instructors put their class PowerPoint files on the web so students can print them out before class to facilitate note-taking. The easiest way to do this is to print the handouts - either three or six slides per page - to a PDF file and then post it on the web. PDF files are read-only files that look very much like their original documents. The file size of a PDF file is typically much smaller than the original file. PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader, a third party plug-in available at no cost, to display. To download the Adobe Acrobat reader, go to: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readermain.html . There are many Adobe Acrobat products available on this site, most of which involve a cost. It's the free Reader that you want.

Creating PDF files requires Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional (not the Reader) which is not a free download. We usually suggest interested departments purchase Adobe Acrobat from WISC at: http://wiscsoftware.wisc.edu/wisc/. If you don't have Adobe Acrobat but want to convert PowerPoint notes to a PDF format, send it as an attachment to ltc@uwgb.edu and we'll convert it for you. If you've never worked with PDF files before you might want to try a few to see if they will work for your needs.

PDF files are scalable, which means they will appear smaller than normal if the browser window is not maximized, but you can zoom in as much as you want. Students in D2L courses should be sure to open these files in a new window when they're viewing them in Content.

One of the few problems with PDF files is that they are almost impossible to edit in the PDF format. Always retain the original document so you can make your changes there and then recreate the PDF file if changes are necessary. With that caveat in mind, PDF files provide a very good delivery method. See examples of PowerPoint handouts view saved as a PDF file: three slides per page and six slides per page .

Putting PowerPoint presentations on the web as PowerPoint files:

The process is simple: upload the PowerPoint file to your course content. So what are the drawbacks?

  • PowerPoint files usually require that the user has PowerPoint installed on their machine. If they don't have PowerPoint installed, they can download and install a free PowerPoint Viewer available on Microsoft's site. Go here and search for "powerpoint viewer".
  • PowerPoint files can be very large. When a PowerPoint presentation is accessed on the web the entire file must download before any of it can display. On a dial up connection a PowerPoint file of 2MB can take more than 12 minutes. Meanwhile, the user has little indication that the file is downloading and that they should wait. Most users do not wait.
  • Sometimes there is incompatibility with different versions of PowerPoint. The Office Compatibility Pack may need to be installed.

See an example of a PowerPoint file on the web. This file includes narration on each slide, a hyperlink, an animated list, an AVI video clip, and automatic timings (slide advancement).

Convert the PowerPoint into a third-party format:

There are several independent applications that have been developed to put PowerPoint on the web in a user-friendly manner. One of the better ones is iSpring. iSpring takes a PowerPoint presentation and converts it to web-friendly multimedia. It includes audio so it is a good choice for presentations that include narration. It compresses presentations fairly well for multiple bandwidths and retains reasonable quality. You can adjust the size of the output window so it's easier to play in a small window.

iSpring is a free download. If you don't have iSpring and want to convert a PowerPoint presentation to an iSpring format, send it as an attachment to ltc@uwgb.edu and we'll convert it for you..