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Information sharing is one of the greatest revolutions emerging alongside new technologies. In many cases, access to highly esteemed professors and universities is as easy as downloading the respective professor’s or entity’s RSS feed or podcast. The playing field is beginning to level for those that have traditionally had access and those that have not. No longer do students have to pay an obscene amount of tuition and expenses to access this information.

In large part, this revolution is made possible by the emergence of new multimedia and Web 2.0 technologies. You Tube, podcasts, and similar applications provide a good medium to deliver content such as lectures, presentations, and classroom discussions. No medium can replace the traditional class, but producers of such content are edging closer each day.

One such Web 2.0 technology is Slideshare. The concept of Slideshare is simple; this free application allows one to upload a document or presentation (e.g., Word or PowerPoint) and distribute it to the masses. In addition, Slideshare allows the presenter to add an audio file and line up each slide with the audio. This scenario “feels” similar to a traditional presentation, and Slideshare has named such a presentation a slidecast. Assignment #2 for IT 780 was to create a slidecast, and I developed two videos based on Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” These presentations are below:

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Sharpen the Saw

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: First Things First

Similarly, a presenter can also choose to embed a You Tube video in a Slideshare presentation. In other words, a normal presentation can be uploaded to Slideshare, and midway through that presentation, a You Tube video can be inserted. From the standpoint of the viewer, this all comes across seamless and professional.

In addition, Slideshare allows users to share content very easily. As might be expected, presentations can be categorized as private, which restricts viewing. However, the idea behind Slideshare is a collective community sharing ideas and presentations for the greater good. An easy way to find presentations is to search within Slideshare. In fact, after submitting the slideshow above to the public on Slideshare, over 450 viewers watched the presentation within two weeks of publishing the presentation. Outside of the Slideshare format, I would not have been able to communicate with this many people in such an easy manner.  Conversely, Slideshare allows users to embed a presentation in other applications such as a blog (e.g., the slidecast above). Finally, Slideshare allows users to link a feed of the presentation to social networking tools such as Twitter or Facebook.

Slideshare is an excellent idea. There are several “bugs” that need to be worked out of the system. However, the prospect of possibility far outweighs any obstacles to creating and publishing on Slideshare.

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