Does it allow for Audio Narration?

Yes, but there are limited capabilities to edit the audio track once it is inserted.


Does it allow for auto-advance?

Yes, it can advance based on mouse click, on a set timer, or on the completion of an audio/video track.


Does it allow for animations?

Yes, but limited in scope and compared to PowerPoint. Has similar timing mechanism as Presenter for associating animation triggers with audio cues.


Does it allow for video? Talking-heads? Web-video?

It allows for video, included embedded web-video from sources like YouTube. Supports .flv, .mp4, .mov, .avi, .wmv, .mpg, .mpeg, .asf, .3gp, .m4v, and .vob formats for uploaded videos.

Does not allow for traditional talking-heads, but could be reproduced through embedded video on the slide.


Is the final presentation accessible?

No, the presentations are not 508 compliant.


What are the available formats for the final presentation?

Online Flash streaming, proprietary online players for Windows and Mac, PowerPoint presentation, Adobe PDF.


How can the presentation be distributed?

Streams online from sliderocket.com proper, or can be embedded within any webpage. Offline delivery through proprietary players.


Does it allow for quizzes? If so, are they SCORM compliant?

No. It has polling, but no quizzing.


Is the UI similar to/integrated with PowerPoint, or is it different in significant ways?

It is similar to PowerPoint. Menus are different, but the core capabilities and metaphors are similar.


Licensing: business/education or individual?

Enterprise and individual. Discounts for K-12, but higher education discounts must be negotiated.


Cost?

Individual: $24/month, $240 annual

Enterprise: K/12 $999/year for 501-1000 students with 50GB storage( http://www.sliderocket.com/solutions/education_free.html )

No documented higher education prices.

  • Does it allow for Audio Narration? Yes. The sound can be recorded with screen actions or inserted later on. You can also turn text into speech.
  • Does it allow for auto-advance? It will depend on the publishing format, but generally yes--there will be a playbar that would allows users to advance.
  • Does it allow for animations? Yes. Animation created in other programs can also be inserted (ex. FLV).
  • Does it allow for video? Talking-heads? Web-video? Yes, most common formats can be inserted: AVI, MOV, FLV
  • Is the final presentation accessible? Depends on the final format.
  • What are the available formats for the final presentation? Many, some are: MP4, iPad, iPhone, PDF, SWF, Mac/Win executable, can also publish directly to YouTube in HD, (No FLV!).
  • How can the presentation be distributed? Yes.
  • Does it allow for quizzes? Yes. You can use templates you create nice looking quizzes. If so, are they SCORM compliant? Yes.
  • Is the UI similar to/integrated with PowerPoint, or is it different in significant ways? Different, it's a more complex program that looks similar to other Adobe applications.
  • Cost? Full - $799.00, educational - $289.00, subscribe month-to-month or year-to-year from $59.00/mo. (Prices as of June 2011.)

myBrainshark (brainshark.com) is a free, fully Web-based, online service that gives you a user-friendly way to create, share and track on-demand multi-media presentations. Advanced versions of Brainshark for Professionals and Trainers, (not covered here) are available for a monthly fee. Essentially, myBrainshark, the free version, is a browser-based Web application which allows you to assemble a group of slides into a presentation, stored on and delivered from, a server in the cloud. Each slide itself may be interactive, contain animation, and be of varied duration, depending on the content presented. You can upload slides created as PowerPoint presentations, photos and videos in many formats, as well as URL slides and document slides. You can add audio to any slide by telephone, microphone or MP3. A control at the bottom allows you to pause and start up again during the presentation, if you wish. You can insert interactive survey and poll questions as slides, share links to presentations and track viewing. myBrainshark actually creates a Flash movie, and alongside it, a parallel MP4 movie, so that if Flash is not available, such as in mobile use, it uses the HTML5 video tag to play an MP4 movie. In author mode, you can edit the order of slides, and insert and delete slides, but you cannot edit the content of the slides online. (You prepare content with your desktop software, such as PowerPoint, Photoshop, etc.). You can edit some of the metadata online, however. You can import a PowerPoint slide into the system, but you can't export it back out. Once you finish and activate your completed presentation, it becomes part of a useful online library of resources, in the manner of any other unrestricted URL, available to anyone. (Privacy and password management are available in the Pro version only.) There is a special iOS universal native app that remembers your login and has a cleaner look than when used in Mobile Safari, since the native app doesn't have an address bar. I tested the native app successfully on the iPad2. In addition, myBrainshark worked fine when I tried it using the Safari browser on the iPad, iPad2 and iPod Touch. Currently, a facility for offline use is not implemented.

Camtasia for Mac or Camtasia Studio for Windows are screen and video recording apps for mac or windows. The recording and editing functions are more comprehensive than Camtasia Relay; users of Camtasia Relay will feel at home. This could be used for recording a presentation (PowerPoint or other) with accompanying audio as well as camera capture of the narrator.


- Does it allow for Audio Narration?
Yes

- Does it allow for auto-advance?
It records the screen. (Yes?)

- Does it allow for animations?
There are a number of special effects. Of course it will capture whatever special effects are in the presentation

- Does it allow for video? Talking-heads? Web-video?
The output is video; can't embed links or frames as such

- Is the final presentation accessible?
Not accessible.
Would have to be accompanied by a separate text transcript
it may be possible to add text titles/captions in another tool

- What are the available formats for the final presentation?
many choices of video (web, mobile, etc)

- How can the presentation be distributed?
distributed as native video, HTML5 based video, embeddable on web page, uploadable to services like iTunesU or YouTube

- Does it allow for quizes? If so, are they SCORM compliant?
No

- Is the UI similar to/integrated with PowerPoint, or is it different in
significant ways?
no integration with powerpoint, beyond being able to capture a presentation session


- Licensing: business/education or individual?
Individual licenses at reduced cost for education. Probably can negotiate volume or site discounts.

- Cost?
Individual licenses for education: $99 per copy of Camtasia Mac, $179 per copy of Camtasia Studio for Windows.

iSpring

Does it allow for Audio Narration?

  • Yes, using iSpring Presenter
Does it allow for auto-advance?
  • It is one of several options, but not the default option
Does it allow for animations?
  • Yes, claims to have the most comprehensive conversion of PPT animations on the market
Does it allow for video? Talking-heads? Web-video?
  • YouTube videos can easily be inserted
  • Talking head videos can be recorded or imported
  • Videos can be synchronized as well
Is the final presentation accessible?
  • Not stated, but probably not since it is converted into Flash content
What are the available formats for the final presentation?
  • Single Flash file (.SWF)
  • .EXE file - no Flash Player required
  • HTML page
  • ZIP archive
How can the presentation be distributed?
  • Publish locally to computer
  • iSpring online
  • Web
  • CD/DVD
Does it allow for quizes? If so, are they SCORM compliant?
  • Powerful quiz engine with iSpring Presenter (not available in iSpring Pro)
  • Works with systems that support SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004 and AICC
Is the UI similar to/integrated with PowerPoint, or is it different in significant ways?
  • UI of iSpring Presenter is quite similar and integrates via a PowerPoint plug in
Licensing: business/education or individual?
  • Individual pricing
  • Educational pricing
Cost?

AuthorPoint description: "It is an easy to use presentation creation tool that works as a toolbar inside Microsoft PowerPoint and helps you create rich multimedia SCORM compliant
content for sharing across platforms. AuthorPOINT is now compatible with Windows Vista & Microsoft Office 2007."

• Does it allow for Audio Narration?
"Retain Embedded/Linked audio, narrations and audio on animations in PowerPoint files"

• Does it allow for auto-advance?
The website doesn't say.

• Does it allow for animations?
"Retain animation effects in PowerPoint files"

• Does it allow for video? Talking-heads? Web-video?
"Retain linked videos in PowerPoint files"
"Sync Live audio/video with PowerPoint Files"
"Sync pre-recorded audio/video files with PowerPoint files"

• Is the final presentation accessible?
See "Known Issues" at http://www.authorgen.com/authorpoint-lite-free/aplite-known-issues.aspx

• What are the available formats for the final presentation?
"Save as SCORM Compliant Flash presentation"
"Get an unbranded version of output player"
"Compile CD/DVD of your Presentations"

• How can the presentation be distributed?
"Share through authorSTREAM"

• Does it allow for quizzes? If so, are they SCORM compliant?
"With WizIQ, students can practice online tests."

• Is the UI similar to/integrated with PowerPoint, or is it different in significant ways?
"You will find the authorPOINT menu and tool bar in your PowerPoint window. Simply install authorPOINT. Then open your PowerPoint presentation and you are ready to begin capturing your synchronized authorPOINT presentation by clicking the capture button."

• Licensing: business/education or individual?
Educational pricing is available.

• Cost?
"Special AuthorPOINT educational price of $99 only"
"WizIQ offers 25 teacher accounts for $199.95/month."
Full details at http://www.authorgen.com/

Here's a quick URL to 8 Adobe Presenter alternatives:

http://topalternatives.com/alternatives/elearning-presentation-software.html

Of the 8 listed:


  • Articulate Presenter '09 seems to be a pretty close match. If the quizzing and online tools are needed, there are other options in the product family that can be integrated

  • Brainshark looks pretty cool and has a mobile presentation option that looks pretty interesting

  • iSpring looks very similar to Articulate Presenter, but seems to have some strengths around video integration at first glance

  • AuthorPoint is sort of a mix between Adobe Presenter and Camtasia Studio. You get to record what's right on the screen and audio/video of the presenter. Can be exported as Flash or WMV

  • Raptivity is all about quickly creating online interactions. Pretty cool with over 200+ built-in interactions that can be modified. However, not a great match for Presenter

  • UDUTU seems to be pretty geared towards corporate clients and is not a good match in my opinion

  • Rapid Intake looks to be more of a fully online course system. It seems to have the same functionality as Adobe Presentation, but many other things as well

  • Lectora appears to be a pretty all encompassing rapid multimedia development tool. It too can do what Adobe Presenter does, but quite a bit more.

In 2005, looks like NC State University did an evaluation of Presenter and popular peers .

Looks like they thought Presenter was the best option, but lots of info on the competitors.

I use Presenter to develop our online orientations, so this is a topic close to my heart.

Here's what I've looked at so far, and how they've faired:

Presentation Engine

Not impressed. The resulting presentations look more like poor flash-based websites than narrated presentations.

Pros:


  • Web-based, so multiplatform

  • Umm....

Cons:


  • Ugly

  • no narration and auto-advance

  • probably couldn't host our own

  • Would have to integrate with central auth

  • Questionable Accessibility

Prezi

Produces some visually compelling presentations. This would be my #1 recommendation if it wasn't lacking key features.

Pros:


  • Visually Striking

  • Works well with audio, images, and online video

  • Has strong connections in the higher academic space

  • Web-based, so multiplatform


Cons:

  • Very different interface and metaphors than PowerPoint's

  • No narration and auto-advance

  • No animations beyond zooming/panning

  • Couldn't host our own

  • Would have to integrate with central auth

  • Open question on accessibility

SlideRocket

Of the tools I've looked at, SlideRocket has the most going for it. Several of the key features we'd need in a Presenter replacement are only available for pay, but they are there.

Pros:


  • Web-based, so multiplatform

  • Most like PowerPoint

  • Animations

  • Works with audio, images, and online video


Cons:

  • Couldn't host our own

  • Would have to integrate with central auth

  • Open question on accessibility


This conversation on Quora started when somebody asked, why is Dropbox more popular than other programs with similar functionality? A responder said:

Well, let's take a step back and think about the sync problem and what the ideal solution for it would do:
  • There would be a folder.
  • You'd put your stuff in it.
  • It would sync.
They built that.

Why didn't anyone else build that? I have no idea.

"But," you may ask, "so much more you could do! What about task management, calendaring, customized dashboards, virtual white boarding. More than just folders and files!"

No, shut up. People don't use that crap. They just want a folder. A folder that syncs.

"But," you may say, "this is valuable data...certainly users will feel more comfortable tying their data to Windows Live, Apple Mobile Me, or a name they already know."

No, shut up. Not a single person on Earth wakes up in the morning worried about deriving more value from their Windows Live login. People already trust folders. And Dropbox looks just like a folder. One that syncs.

"But," you may say, "folders are so 1995. why not leverage the full power of the web? With HTML 5 you can drag and drop files, you can build intergalactic dashboards of stats showing how much storage you are using, you can publish your files as RSS feeds and tweets, and you can add your company logo!"

No, shut up. Most of the world doesn't sit in front of their browser all day. If they do, it is IE 6 at work that they are not allowed to upgrade. Browsers suck for these kinds of things. Their stuff is already in folders. They just want a folder. That syncs.

That is what it does.

This response, though humorous, speaks to a point we might consider as we continue exploring academic technologies. There are a lot of good ideas out there, and our job is not only to find innovation but to look deeper. Many of the tools we're discussing are trying to address some underlying issue with today's student experience, so the tools which are focused and simple are probably also easier to pick up and use.