Using Presentation Software for Computerized Instruction

By Rupp-Serrano, Karen; Buchanan, Nancy | Online, March 1992 | Go to article overview

Using Presentation Software for Computerized Instruction


Rupp-Serrano, Karen, Buchanan, Nancy, Online


As the use of computerized technologies in libraries increases, it becomes more important to develop training for efficient use of such technologies. Of particular interest in such training is the use of presentation software to help create computerized instruction. Such instruction simulates actual computerized search situations, such as online database, CD-ROM, or OPAC (Qnline Public Access Catalog) searching, in a low-pressure, self-paced environment. Patrons, staff, and professionals all can benefit from such training.

OPAC END-USER TRAINING

The use of presentation software to create computerized instruction was recently applied to OPAC training at Texas A&M University. End-user training is a vital part of the instructional services program at the university's Sterling C. Evans Library. The type of OPAC instructional presentation used most often involves a live NOTIS demonstration projected onto a large viewing screen using an LCD projection system. These demonstrations are conducted both in a classroom in the library and at remote locations.

While the ability to present live online instruction is of great benefit to both the instructor and class, it does depend upon several variables. Regardless of location, such demonstrations require a portable personal computer, modem, telecommunications software, direct outside telephone line, projection system, overhead projector, and viewing screen. They also are dependent upon the availability of the OPAC. If any of the needed elements are missing, the librarian must resort to the old standbys: the chalkboard and handouts.

To avoid such situations, Texas A&M decided to create a computerized instructional presentation that would simulate NOTIS by using captured NOTIS screens. Such a presentation could be used an unlimited number of times and would not be dependent upon the availability of the OPAC or a proper telecommunications setup. The presentation was created using Show Partner F/X presentation software, and in its finished form it simulates actual OPAC searching and serves as an introduction to the basic NOTIS commands and search strategies. Similar presentations could also be created to train staff and patrons in the use of CD-ROM or online databases, or even applications software.

SOFTWARE CAPABILITIES: SHOW PARTNER F/X

The presentation Texas A&M wanted to produce required a reliable presentation software package capable of incorporating downloaded OPAC screens and creating sophisticated graphics. Because of prior positive library experience with BrightbillRoberts' Show Partner, the Show Partner F/X product from the same company was an obvious choice. At a cost of $350, Show Partner F/X offered greatly enhanced graphics and animation capabilities over the previous version of Show Partner.

Show Partner F/X's attributes include:

* the ability to 'capture" and download screens from NOTIS or other software applications, including DIALOG searches and CD-ROM databases

the ability to create original graphics and text

* the ability to use color and animation to enhance a presentation

* the ability to control the pace of a presentation

* ease of use in learning the software, in updating a presentation, and in employing it in the classroom

* the right to distribute Show Partner F/X presentations on disk without paying royalties to Brightbill-Roberts

Show Partner F/X has eight integrated programs or modules:

* Slide Show Editor creates and edits slide-type shows consisting of captured screens that can then be controlled for screen dissolve effects, speed, and timing.

* Script Editor is more advanced than Slide Show Editor, allowing the use of the Show Partner F/X editor and capture programs to create screens that can be assembled into a presentation and enhanced with special effects such as fades or scrolls.

* GraFIX Editor creates graphics-based images and also enhances captured images through the use of added text and graphics in a variety of fonts, sizes, and colors. …

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