Using the Mini-Presentation System

Preparing your lecture slides

  1. The Mini Presentation system will take care of converting your PowerPoint presentation to the appropriate format for you.
  2. Make sure that you leave a reasonable border (in particular at the right margin) on each slide, as the conversion tends to chop a little around the edges to make them fit on the screen.
  3. Any animations embedded in your PowerPoint will be lost by the converter, which simply generates a static image for each full slide. If you wish to preserve a "sequential disclosure" of text (one line appears at a time), you should generate individual slides for each separate display that you want to appear.

Transferring your lecture to the server

  1. Open a web browser to the eClass page and enter your name and password (see post on WebCT) in the mini-presentation fields. Click the MiniPres button and you will be brought to a new page where you can enter a title for your presentation or use the pull-down menu to select a previously uploaded set of slides.
  2. If you wish to upload a PowerPoint file for background slides, select the Upload PowerPoint checkbox and then press Create Lecture. A new window will appear, in which you can select the PowerPoint file and have the software convert it for you automatically.
  3. Note that if you need to update your slides at any time, just repeat the procedure above. The system will use the most recent files that you upload.

In the Lab

  1. Log on to the minipres computer in MacDonald Harrington G15 (which is open Monday-Friday, 12:00-17:00) with your regular EMF computer userid and password. A ZenStarter window will launch, preparing to manage the recording of your presentation, and a browser window will open to the eClass page, allowing you to enter your userid and password for the Mini Presentation system.
  2. If you have slides to upload and haven't done so yet, follow the instructions, above. Otherwise, click the Record Presentation button to launch the ZenPad whiteboard. After a short time (depending on how many slides, if any, you previously uploaded), a blank screen with a pen palette will appear or, if you have uploaded background slides, you will see the first one displayed. At this point, you may click the Record button at the top of the screen to start recording.
  3. You should see a message at the top left of your window that indicates your lecture name, followed by the text, "Recording." If not, see the list of common problems and solutions, below.
  4. You should wait approximately 3 seconds before speaking, as the RealProducer (recording software) takes that long before it actually starts saving any data. At that point, you can begin speaking and annotating your slides using the tablet and stylus. Use the thick down and up arrows to advance to the next slide or return to the previous. Tap on the insert button to create a new, blank slide. The grid-like button is used to bring up a miniature view of all your slides, allowing for random access to any slide in your lecture. To erase unwanted inkstrokes, hold down the side button of the stylus while you sweep over the ink.
  5. If you wish to stop your recording at any point, simply click the stop button. You can then review your recording by pressing the play button. Note that once you stop, you cannot resume recording from that point but instead, must start again from the beginning if you wish to record again. Also, you must give the computer a bit of time to shut down the recording before you try again. Otherwise, the system may hang because of system resources that are in use.
  6. When you are happy with your recording, you can then press the submit button to have your presentation submitted to the TAs and instructor.

Problems and Solutions

  1. After uploading a PowerPoint presentation, I don't see my presentation title in the list of available classes.

    Solution: Use the pull-down course menu to reselect your course or simply refresh the page.

  2. After pressing the Record button, I see a message of "Recorder not running" in the title bar.

    If you see a diagnostic, such as "Recorder error" or "Recorder busy," (when it should say "Recording"), you should:

    If this doesn't succeed, please contact the system administrator in the lab.
  3. The time bar jumped back to zero when changing slides.

    See solution (2) above.

  4. A "Connection to server lost" message appears.

    See solution (2) above.