April 2011 // Volume 49 // Number 2 // Tools of the Trade // 2TOT9
Delivery of PowerPoint® Videos on the World Wide Web
A widespread and devastating epidemic of potato and tomato late blight in the Northeastern U.S. during the 2009 growing season brought to the light the need for rapid and effective delivery of reliable information. Extension took the lead in information delivery during the epidemic and during the winter in preparation for the upcoming growing season. Microsoft PowerPoint® was used to create a narrated video, and the completed file was converted with PPT To Video Scout software to a Windows Media Format and posted on the Internet. The procedure produced easily accessible information that is continually available for client use.
Reliable information delivery is a strength of Extension programs. However, the approach to information delivery has been evolving from the methods of the past (Johnson, 2009). Much of the change has involved Internet usage (Ferrell & Fisher, 2007; Parker, 2009). Distance education and distance technologies are not new concepts for Extension. As noted by Fishel et al., with declining budgets, Extension's use of distance technologies that save time, costs, and manpower will only increase as resources become increasingly scarce. Rapid information delivery is also a strength of Extension programs (Johnson & Dwyer, 2007).
The 2009 growing season was one of unprecedented late blight epidemics on tomatoes and potatoes in the Northeastern U.S. (Johnson, 2010a; Johnson, 2010b; McGrath, Smith, Sideman, & Johnson, 2010). Many farmers and gardeners had not experienced late blight before 2009. Many of these were unprepared for the disease (Johnson, 2009c). Rapid and effective delivery of reliable information was needed.
Once the decision to deliver information via the Internet was made, various options were considered. Fishel et al. (2010) described using Polycom® for program delivery. Ferrell & Fisher (2007) described development of training materials using Articulate® software. Grabowski (2010) described development and evaluation of training materials using Adobe® Presenter software. Parker (2009) described development of multimedia training materials using Microsoft Producer® software. Dewell et al. (2009) described development of multimedia training materials in a DVD format. Webcasts and podcasts are also considered. Some approaches had platform or other issues. Some were excellent for delivering trainings, but not for delivery of short message.
Most Extension presentations make use of Microsoft PowerPoint®, so it was selected as the presentation method. A good quality digital microphone was used to record voice in the narration function of Microsoft PowerPoint®. The narrations are saved with each slide; saving the slide timings as well produces a playable voiced-over presentation. A little practice on the slide transitions coupled with the program's ability to allow recording from specific slides or rerecording slides from any point makes the process uncomplicated and easy to do while sitting at one's desk. While some people prefer to give a presentation without a script, The University of Maine requirements include a written transcript to accompany a posted video.
The Next Step
Posting the narrated Microsoft PowerPoint® presentation will not protect the photographs as intellectual property. In an effort to address this, the file can be converted to Windows Media Format (WMV). The software, PPT To Video Scout <http://bytescout.com/products/enduser/ppttovideoscout/ppttovideoscout.html>, was used for the conversion. The software produces a WMV file ready for Internet posting. The WMV file format worked out well with the universal availability of the WMV player free of charge.
A 7-minute video of the Microsoft PowerPoint® presentation "Getting Ready for Late Blight in 2010" <http://www.umaine.edu/umext/potatoprogram/Fact%20Sheets/late%20blight%20info.wmv> was produced with minimal additional effort as it was based on previous presentations (Johnson, 2010c). The information is available on a 24-hour basis in the convenience of the client's home. Rapid and effective delivery of reliable information was accomplished.
Dewell, R. D., Roman-Muniz, I. N., Scanga, J. A., Fails, A. D., Whalen, L. R., McCarthy, B. J., Hoffman, T. W., Woerner, D. R., Belk, K. E., Smith, G. C., & Salman, M. D. (2009). Development of interactive multimedia training materials to train beef packing plant workers in the identification and removal of specified risk materials. Journal of Extension [On-line], 47(1) Article 1TOT6. Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2009february/tt6.php
Ferrell, J., & Fishel, F. (2007). Using Articulate® to develop on-line pesticide training modules. Journal of Extension [On-line], 45(5) Article 5TOT5. Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2007october/tt5.php
Fishel, F., Ferrell, J., Vallad, G., Price, J., Cherry, R., Mizell, R., & Duncan, L. (2010). Perceptions of Polycom programming for delivery of continuing education to Florida's licensed pesticide applicators. Journal of Extension [On-line], 48(2) Article 2TOT4. Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2010april/tt4.php
Grabowski, M. (2010). Evaluation of Adobe® Presenter as a teaching tool. Journal of Extension [On-line], 48(2) Article 2TOT5. Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2010april/tt5.php
Johnson, S. B. (2009). Expanded information delivery using the World Wide Web. Journal of Extension [On-line], 47(6) Article 6TOT5. Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2009december/tt5.php
Johnson, S. B. (2010a). Tomato and potato late blight information for the upcoming growing season: Recommended practices following a season of infestation. University of Maine Cooperative Extension Bulletin 2441, 4pp. Retrieved from http://www.umaine.edu/umext/potatoprogram/Fact%20Sheets/homeowner%20late%20blight.pdf
Johnson, S. B. (2010b). Potato late blight. University of Maine Cooperative Extension Bulletin 2441, 5pp. Retrieved from http://www.umaine.edu/umext/potatoprogram/Fact%20Sheets/Potato%20Late%20Blight.pdf
Johnson, S. B. (2010c). Update on potato and tomato late blight control in organic production. Retrieved from http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/pesticides/gotpests/documents/late-blight-organic.pdf
Johnson, S. B., & Dwyer, J. D. (2007). Information delivery using an automated computer/telephone system (or 10,000 contacts in 10 years). Journal of Extension [On-line], 45(5) Article 5TOT4. Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2007october/tt4.php
McGrath, M., Smith, C., Sideman, E., & Johnson, S. B. (2010). Late blight: A community disease. Retrieved from http://extension.unh.edu/Agric/Docs/Lateblightpreventionflyer.pdf
Parker, R. T. (2009). Distance education: Taking the first steps. Journal of Extension [On-line], 47(3) Article 3IAW5. Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2009june/iw5.php