Sky Drive Live + PowerPoint Web App = learning object?

I’ve been looking at ways of taking myself out of the production cycle when it comes to creating online resources and turning more of that work over to our facilitators. As well, we’re introducing more and more facilitators to the flipped classroom model of having students prepare and interrogate learning materials in advance of face to face sessions, so I’m exploring easy ways of transforming classroom resources into online learning tools.

PowerPoint is a tool that many facilitators use every day, yet from my conversations with them and in looking at what they have created, I found that there was a lot of potential for improvement.

My first step has been  to talk with my colleagues about how they use PowerPoint and to introduce some base concepts as to what makes for more engaging presentations. Most of them have excellent skills in group facilitation gleaned from group work in counselling and community services, so there was a great information exchange happening. Some are saddled with presentations created by others and due to contractual obligations have very little wiggle room at present. However, most were open to learning and one in particular was excited at the prospect of eliminating text and injecting visuals into her slides.

So I put together a PowerPoint Content Basics presentation and presented it at our monthly staff meeting (click More to see it):

Power point basics content-1 from Kerry J

It was well received and people were talking about it after I left and have told me since it was helpful.

My second step is to look at how they could potentially use their PowerPoints as the basis of learning objects. 

Articulate Storyline can take in PowerPoints and allow you to do some very sophisticated programming including incorporating interactive assessments, branched learning, info popups on hovers, animations, embedded media and hook into the gradebooks of learning management systems.  There are going to be some courses for which this is going to be a great tool – so training my facilitators who are often SMEs as well on how to structure a PowerPoint to optimise my time in Articulate is a definite next step.  We have to be careful to balance WCAG requirements with this tool but it can be done.

However, if I stopped there, we’d have a bottleneck. While we want quality control on learning objects, I want more options for learning object creation.

SlideShare is an option I’m considering but with links not always working and some privacy concerns, I’m not sure it’s going to work for us.

And thus to the content related to the title of this post…

Microsoft’s Sky Drive offers free storage, has cloud-based versions of programs to create documents and a desktop app for uploading.  I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to it because at work we have SharePoint and at home I use Google Drive.

However — Sky Drive has the PowerPoint Web App. When you upload a PowerPoint to SkyDrive, it then allows you to generate embed code that you can then embed on a web page. Links stay intact, animations work if people click on the slides rather than advancing them and users can click to view the PowerPoint full screen.  Like this:

It’s limitations are:

  • you cannot embed video or audio – at least not on the free version. I found a PowerPoint plug in that allows me to embed YouTube videos in my PowerPoint – – but it won’t work on SkyDrive because it’s a Visual Basic macro.
  • it does not allow you to choose the embedded player’s size. This is not an issue for me but could be for our facilitators. I can always go in and clean up after the ones afraid to touch code I suppose and still save time.
  • it does not allow you to hide the number of slides – which is okay for most presentations. However, if you want to throw in a few multiple choice questions and hide the answer slides from linear navigation, the hidden slides still count toward the total.  See this embedded slide show:

Still, I think it’s a viable option for information-delivery-only learning objects. I’m working about how to manage account risks (am thinking the organisation needs to own the accounts, not facilitators) and will write those up as part of the proposal that will include training and procedures.  It’s easy to to use, gives a visual, interactive way of presenting basic information, can be navigated without a mouse and is simple to create. Yes, I think I’m liking Sky Drive + PowerPoint – but I’ll be doing more mad scientist experiments and perhaps some test-marketing first.


My husband has advised me that I might be able to over-ride the style sheet for the embedded player to hide the slide numbers by possibly adding code to the CSS sheet for the course themes in Moodle as follows:

#WACStatusBarContainer .cui-statusbar .cui-ctl-mediumlabel, #WACStatusBarContainer .cui-statusbar .cui-fslb {

Obviously as soon as they went full screen, the information would display again.