1. Perry, William MA, RN

Article Content

The Internet has brought the spirit of global communication and collaboration to nurses and other healthcare professionals in ways never before thought possible. These resources are offered to expand your opportunities for discussion, reference, education, and research.


PowerPoint is an incredibly useful tool, and I don't know of very many people who haven't heard of it or used it in either the clinical or academic arena. How do you share PowerPoint presentations? I've posted them to class and hospital Web sites both as .ppt files and .pps files (both of which require the viewer to have either the application or the viewer or their computer), and I've converted them to HTML to post on Web sites. Wonderful tool that it is, I'm still open to alternate ways of displaying material and definitely open to adding features that will make material available to more users.


A couple of applications caught my attention recently that may offer some different features and opportunities to create presentations for computer-based education. Both applications create Flash files that are often smaller than the original .ppt file. One is an authoring tool that allows you to create highly interactive courses that can include multimedia and a variety of question types, matching exercises, and scenarios. Both have a short learning curve and are user friendly.


One other thing: they're both free. authorPoint Lite is the free version of authorPoint, found on the Web at The application is installed and run on your computer and directly converts PowerPoint shows to Flash while maintaining transitions, timings, and special effects. If you have a narrated PowerPoint application, it will preserve the audio. The resulting presentation can be saved to your hard drive, burned to portable media, or uploaded to your Web site. After conversion, it adds navigation buttons, thumbnail images of the slides, and a volume control. You can also upload the files to authorStream, authorGen's free presentation sharing site. You can make your uploaded presentations available to everyone or restrict them to the users you define.


Another option is to upload your PowerPoint files to WiziQ, an online "virtual classroom" with the capacity for as many as 25 attendees. Communication is accomplished by audio and text chat. Video is not supported. It's a free, light version of online conferencing and presentation sharing applications such as Microsoft's Live meeting (, Webex (, or Elluminate ( The commercial applications offer a huge number of additional features, but the features of sharable content, text chat, and audio chat offer some significant tools to someone wanting to create a synchronous online course. I haven't put WiziQ to the test yet, but a quick look has convinced me it deserves further investigation. Elluminate, by the way, has a free three seat virtual office/classroom definitely worth investigating.


A featured course authoring tool with an amazing suite of features, Udutu is a totally online authoring tool that enables the user to create courses that include text, graphics, audio, and video. The tool is available at You can create embedded questions, matching exercises scenarios that branch according to the student's selections. Like authorPoint Lite, the resulting course is saved as a Flash-based application and can be run on your local computer, portable media, or a Web site. The course creator has the option to build Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)- compliant files you can upload to a learning management system (LMS).


Udutu also will host your files. The free option watermarks your slides; the paid option is based on the number of slides you host on their servers.


I found both of these sites listed on Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day ( The "Directory of Learning Tools" section of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies ( is a superb resource for those seeking tools to create course content. Free and open source applications and commercial applications are listed with a brief description of each tool.


I hope you will find an opportunity to visit these sites and experiment with the tools listed.


Contributed by


William Perry, MA, RN