Using SlideShare to Share Presentations
This article provides an overview of a web service for uploading, embedding and sharing presentations called SlideShare. After a description of the features available we will look at its uses for teaching and learning.
SlideShare is a community web service that allows sharing and embedding of presentations that contain images, graphics, text and embedded video, created using PowerPoint, PDF or Open Office that are uploaded by the community. People wanting to share or publicise presentations such as those used at conferences and meetings are typical users of the service. The service provides a mechanism for soliciting feedback, which has uses for teaching and learning, and its ability to be embedded allows the community to distribute your presentations to a wider audience. Embedded presentations can be utilised as learning objects to supporting learning.
You can search for presentations by keyword, topic, or user and then view and/or embed the presentation. Presentations may or may not have synchronised audio and comments. Anybody can add his or her feedback and/or comments to a presentation once it has been shared. If you post the slideshow you can also delete any comments that you deem inappropriate
Terms of service / copyright
Note that the terms of service for many web services such as SlideShare can change at any time and without having to inform the users of the service of said changes. By agreeing to the terms of service it is possible that you are signing over the IPR of the content, which may contravene your employer’s terms of service. Contact your legal department if you are unsure.
Note that in the case of SlideShare, at the time of originally writing (December 2008), you retain ownership of your submissions but do grant SlideShare permission to use your submissions in any way they choose.
The service may also disable or terminate all, or part of your contributions to the service at any time. Therefore it is vital that you retain copies of your presentations in case of loss of service temporarily or permanently.
SlideShare can suspend individual slideshows and accounts if a complaint is made regarding possible violation of the terms of service. The affected account holder has 48 hours to defend any alleged breach of the terms of service. During, and after this time, any slideshows implicated will be unavailable to the public. It is worth remembering that if you have linked to or embedded to any other slideshow and it is suspended or terminated, you will not be able to view the slides.
Using SlideShare to make your presentations available
Uploading your presentations
At the time of writing SlideShare supports the following file formats, each of which is uploaded in the same manner:
Presentations: ppt, pps and pot, pptx, ppsx and potx (PowerPoint), pdf, odp (OpenOffice), Google Docs, and Apple Keynote 09.
Documents & Spreadsheets: doc, docx, rtf, xls (MSOffice), odt and ods (OpenOffice) Google Docs, and pdf.
Anybody who registers for a SlideShare account can upload files in the above formats. During the upload process you will be required to give the file a title, with optional descriptive tags and a description. Each of these attributes associated with the presentation is used during searching. Therefore it is important to be as descriptive as possible to ensure that potential users will find your presentation.
Describing your presentations
As indicated above, if you want others to find your presentation it is essential that you describe them well. Users can sort their search results easily by relevance, and a presentation becomes 'more relevant' (i.e. closer to the top of the search results) if it contains the search term in the title, description and tags.
Try and include terms your users are likely to use when searching – if they don't know about you already, they are more likely to come across your presentation if you use the kind of language you think will be most appropriate to them (e.g. subject specific terminology). On the other hand, if you are hoping to reach a wider audience, be careful to include common terms too – you may alienate or exclude potential users if you use jargon alone. The title and description fields are fairly self-explanatory – you will probably want to use these to sum up and describe the 'who, what, where' in your presentation.
Privacy and permissions
By default each presentation uploaded is set to be publicly viewable and allows downloading of the original format. During the upload process you have the ability to change the default of who can see your presentation to:
- Everyone – presentations are viewable by everybody
- Only me – Private, only viewable by me when logged in
- All my contacts – viewable by anybody on my contact list(s)
The privacy option of sharing only amongst your chosen contacts can be useful for getting opinions from your peers. For example pre conference or event, and solves the problem of emailing large files. You can create lists (e.g., students, work colleagues) and add other slideshare members to the lists. This means that you could choose to make presentations available to students who are members of the service by adding them to one of your lists.
Tips for creating presentations to upload on SlideShare.
- The minimum font size that will be legible is 14pt.
- Bright backgrounds are often difficult to view
- Users viewing the presentation cannot click links within the presentation so ensure that the full URLS are displayed on the page so that any interested users can find out more themselves.
Using SlideShare to source learning materials
Searching and viewing for presentations
There are a number of ways to search the SlideShare community service for useful material. The search bar allows for keyword searches of presentation titles and summaries in a number of languages. The search results list keyword(s) with details such as number of views, downloads, number of slides and publish date to help identify suitable matches. Searches can also be made by relevance:
- Slideshow (relevance, latest, views and times downloaded)
- User (most slideshows, date joined)
- Group/event (Most slideshows and most members)
SlideShare also provides a set of quick search tabs e.g. “latest, most views” across the whole service.
An advanced search allows for searches by four additional criteria: language, permission (e.g. Creative Commons licence), file format and if searches include the full text or by tag.
Commenting on a presentation
Registered members and guests can post comments. Guests are effectively anonymous. The comments appear below the presentation and can provide useful feedback and constructive criticism. The owner of the presentation receives a message each time a comment is posted to their slide account and can choose to delete the comment should they wish.
Embedding a presentation
One of the key benefits of using SlideShare is that presentations that have been made available for sharing can be directly embedded into any web page where you have edit rights to that page. This means that instead of having to leave your page to view a presentation, the viewer can see the presentation where you have embedded it. This includes any embedding within virtual learning environments (e.g. Blackboard and Moodle).
Embedding presentation content increases page usability by reducing the need to leave the page, and the clicking through of the presentation adds an interactive element to the page, which is proven to entice the learner. Also assuming its your SlideShare file, you are in control of access to the original presentation format and can prevent downloading of the file. The existing model of linking to a PowerPoint file is a barrier to the learner who has to have the correct viewing software, wait for the whole file to be downloaded before viewing, has access to your original file, and will not be viewing the presentation in your original content area e.g. VLE learning unit.
Using SlideShare for sharing is therefore a great way to reach a wider audience who wish to use the presentation in their own environment for their own purposes
Downloading other people’s presentations
Content publishers have the option to allow anybody to download the original presentation media (PowerPoint / Word / Keynote etc). This option is useful for anybody wanting to make the presentation available for adaptation (under Creative Commons licence) or for use offline.
How presentations can support learning and teaching
As noted above, easy access to the presentations itself supports learning. Furthermore using presentations with supporting material within a topic act as learning objects that reinforce subject matter or can be a catalyst for an activity at that point or further in the material. The use of embedded presentations can help be a visual stimulus to “encourage curiosity” Holmes and Gardner (2006). e-learning: concepts and Practice. pp 100 of further material that learners often overlook.
An example of a simple use of SlideShare is to use one or more SlideShare presentations that tell a story (learning objects) on a specific component of a topic (much like a podcast) within a larger topic domain instead of hyper linking the student to another web resource on that component. These components can be built up over time and even be created by students themselves as activities forming part of their module.
Presentations may be used for group work based activities whereby using the presentations (from staff other suitable sources) acts as a spark for an activity that could take advantage of the comments facility for group critiques / demonstrations / support / arguments.
Students asked to do group work may use the private share facility to produce parts of a larger presentation.
SlideShare will display the visual contents of any presentation such as text and images. It has recently been updated (May 2009) to allow the embedding of Youtube video and MP3 audio. Audio can now be uploaded directly to SlideShare or hosted externally thus creating a ‘slidecast’. (see below “Adding synchronised Audio = slidecast”)
Adding synchronised Audio = slidecast
Any presentation can have audio synchronised to its slides. The audio can be embedded into the presentation directly or hosted elsewhere and is linked to the presentation using the built-in synchronisation tool.
Credit: Steve Boneham, JISC Netskills
The use of media (e.g. images) in presentations
The same rules apply to the use of moving image, text and sound.
Advantages of having an account
Registering for a free account holds some benefits over using the service as a guest, the most important is that having an account will allow you to upload your own presentations. Further you are able to setup multiple group contact lists to share presentations privately, which is useful for sharing presentations still in the development stage with other accounts and colleagues working remotely.
An account gives you your own space/URL address so that other people can view all of your presentations in one location such as http://www.slideshare.net/zakm
Use SlideShare for finding/uploading slideshows that can be used as learning objects to replace hyperlinks in your online teaching material and provide an improved user experience. Use slideshare as an opportunity for learners to collaborate on producing reusable learning objects that others may find of use in their teaching.
If you would like to know more about slideshare or anything else mentioned in this advice document JISC Digital Media offer a helpdesk service where you can get free advice.
Updates to this document
17th August 2010 - SlideShare has announced pro accounts which include the ability to use HD quality video.
26th October 2009 - SlideShare has a new feature that automatically allows you to share your new presentations via Facebook and Twitter.
26th June 2009 - SlideShare announced support for importing Google Docs. This change is reflected in the 'Using SlideShare to make your presentations available' section of this document.
May 2009 - SlideShare announced support for the hosting of MP3 audio. Previously all audio was hosted externally to the SlideShare website. This update is now reflected in the Multimedia content section of this document.