Hope your presentation isn’t like this…


2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

How to Create a “Spotlight” in PowerPoint

I found instructions from Zara Lynn King this morning on how to create a “spotlight” in PowerPoint. This technique can be useful when you’re teaching your patrons how to use web-based resources and want to guide their attention to a particular feature or section (assuming you’re not conducting a live demo).




On Summer Break


Going on summer hiatus–be back in August with some new ideas and tips. In the meantime, check out the resources page for links to helpful stuff!

Have a great summer!


Recording of Austin DSHS Webinar

The recording of my April 12th, 2011 webinar at the Texas Department of State Health Services is now online at:




Questions and Answers, May 2011

While in Austin for TLA last month, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to present at the Texas Department of State Health Services. It was a hybrid in-person and online webinar and this group asked a LOT of questions!!!

Here are the questions received that I wasn’t able to answer during the session, along with resources and answers:

Where can I find info/instructions on developing a blog?

I use WordPress.com for my site/blog. It’s an easy-to-use web-based blogging platform. So simple, you can be up and running in about 15 minutes. Visit http://wordpress.com for details.

Is there a way to improve images for stretching?

How much you can enlarge an image depends on the file’s resolution. Always go for the biggest resolution file you can find (need a minimum of 1024X768 for PowerPoint).

When enlarging images, in PowerPoint you should constrain the proportions of the image by resizing from the corners. Hold the SHIFT key down, then point your mouse to a corner of the image. Keep the SHIFT key held down while you drag. You will see that it keeps the same ratio of height to width as you drag your mouse. This ensures you avoid any “squished” people pictures.

Is there a problem with copyright about using pictures lifted from the internet?

Unless you know otherwise, you should always assume that the image is copyrighted and may require permission to include in your presentation. The UT System’s Crash Course on Copyright (http://www.utsystem.edu/ogc/intellectualproperty/copypol2.htm#rules) has great guidelines for understanding “fair use” of copyrighted materials.

Most non-profit/governmental agencies are presenting for educational purposes (as opposed to sales) and enjoy greater fair use protection when using copyrighted materials.

There are lots of free image resources available. You can avoid copyright problems altogether by using properly licensed images.

What was the website for images? Stock exchange?

Stock XChange (http://www.sxc.hu) is my favorite free image resource. Be sure to note that some SXC contributors require you to notify them when you use their work.

To what degree does learning style (visual, auditory, etc.) impact a person’s ability to retain info into their short-term memory?

This is an interesting line of inquiry I have not investigated before. A quick search of the Education Full-Text Database (H.W. Wilson Co.) yields some interesting article titles. I’ll report back on this in a future post.

How to you handle margins in slides for video recordings?

All of your presentation slides should have some margin on all sides. If you are using images that cover the entire slide, then relevant portions of the image should not be on the margins as they may get cut off when being recorded.

If you are using more traditional slide formats with text, you need to allow some whitespace or margin around all sides. At least 1/2 inch if you are not being recorded. Extend that to 1 inch if your slides are being recorded.

I must confess I don’t know much about this, nor how HD video affects these parameters, but leaving 1″ should be fine for most any situation.

Do you draft learning objectives for your presentations?

Having been trained as an instructional designer, I do incorporate learning objectives, though in an informal way. I use a worksheet as part of my planning and preparation process which helps me identify my key points and assess the audience’s needs.

For full workshops I will create learning objectives based on the Dick & Carey model of instructional design.

Will this presentation be on your website?

Sure. You can download the slides here: DHHS Webinar April 2011 v4.

Where do you get graphics and pictures for your presentations?

I mostly use Stock XChange (http://www.sxc.hu) but also rely heavily on the images I can find through Microsoft¬†(also accessible from the “Insert Clip Art” command within PowerPoint).

NOTE: I do NOT use clip art. You can limit your search to only return photos.

Where can folks go for additional training in curriculum design and how to present?

My Resources page has lots for presentations and learning. Two books I would suggest are:

Mayer, Richard E. Multimedia Learning. 2nd Ed. 2009. Cambridge University Press.

Dick, Walter and Lou Carey. The Systematic Design of Instruction. 1996 and later. New York: Harper-Collins

How do you deal with nervousness during your presentations?

Mrs. Stewart, my high school drama director, always told us: “If you’re not nervous, you don’t care about your performance.” That has stuck with me for many years now. It’s perfectly fine to be a little nervous.

Best advice I can give you is to prepare thoroughly. The more you prepare and practice, the better you know your content. When you know your content well, your confidence improves.

Another suggestion is to anticipate questions from the audience. The Q&A period is often the most nerve-wracking for presenters. By anticipating questions in advance, you will be that much more prepared.

And finally, I recommend that every presenter read this book:

Koegel, Timothy J. The Exceptional Presenter. Austin, TX: Greenleaf Press, 2007.

It is the most accessible book I have ever read on simple and effective ways to be aware of your body language and ideas on how to improve your poise and confidence in front of an audience.


Thank you to Cindy Faries at DSHS for inviting me to speak, and thanks to everyone in the audience who asked questions! I look forward to hearing from you, and if you would like to add to the discussion of this post, please feel free to post a comment!

All the best,


Connecting WordPress to Twitter

[Test Post]

Testing 1…2…3…

Just enabled the Twitter connectivity in WordPress.

Now when I post to the blog, tweets will be automatically sent to my feed.

I’m using Twitter more and more now.