[Air-l] online tool to present research findings

Anders Fagerjord anders.fagerjord at media.uio.no
Wed Jul 4 02:12:20 PDT 2007

Nicole Reinhold wrote:
>  When conducting research I use several online tools and methods
> but when presenting the results I'm back offline with powerpoint or  
> pdfs.
> Whereby it would be great if we could use online tools to make the  
> research
> findings more interactive, multimedia embedded and so on.
> I was wondering if some of you have used online tools to present  
> research
> findings.
> I was thinking of a tool with which I easily can create various  
> templates,
> in which I can insert text (quotes) and images, videos and links.
> As anybody experience in that area or found an  inspiring format of
> presenting research finding online?

My answer may well be seen as a plug for my paper at the AoIR 8.0  
conference on "Playing with the academic format", but anyway...

By "presenting the results" do you mean an oral presentation in a  
conference or a seminar, or publication of results in an electronic  
journal? Both raise issues.

There are many OK tools for creating slideshows for presentations, my  
favorite is Apple's Keynote, which exports Flash files for web pages.  
I see, however, many good reasons to limit slides or omit them  
altogether. Research in cognitive load theory (Sweller) suggests  
slides most of the time do not help, and may inhibit audience  
understanding. The exception is figures or illustrations that you  
talk about. PowerPoint is also critiqued in other parts of academia  
(e.g., Tufte), and the pedagogues I talk to have a hard time finding  
studies that show slides help. (If I'm starting a flaming new thread  
here, so be it.)

As for electronic hypertext/multimedia publishing, like it is done in  
Kairos and other journals or in the works by Kolb, Moulthrop, Miles  
and others, there are no quick solutions. These hypertexts take time  
to create -- and they take time to consume (I use Tinderbox for that  
kind of work). For many fields, time is a more important factor than  
presentation or rhetorics, so genre experiments are discouraged. For  
other fields, the presentation approaches an art, so templates would  
not make much sense. It seems that most e-journals would like a basic  
text format they can pour into a publishing system and its templates.

We have seen some excellent videos on YouTube the last year. They are  
hard to create, with little automation.

I would certainly welcome templates for communication of research  
results with links and multimedia. But I think we have to build them  
ourselves. I'm into that -- but not far.

For both purposes, I would suggest you are best off with a blog right  
now. (Some would probably say a wiki.) A good blog system (I like  
WordPress) is powerful, flexible, and fairly easy to use. You can  
communicate your results to anyone, you have the archive, and the  
HTML pages may be turned into a large-screen presentation if you use  
Opera, or tinker with JavaScript templates like Eric Meyer's S5  

That said, I hope you prove me wrong :-)

Anders Fagerjord, dr. art.
Associate professor,

Department of Media and Communcation,
Unversity of Oslo
P.O. Box 1093 Blindern
N-0317 OSLO

http://www.media.uio.no   http://fagerjord.no

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