Reaching out across the Web .. ...分享 Zuojun Yu, physical oceanographer, freelance English editor


Are you ready to give a talk via webcast?

已有 2195 次阅读 2013-1-24 08:54 |个人分类:Education|系统分类:教学心得| remote, webcast, audience

Background: Last summer, I tried to listen to some presentations at NCAR via webcast. I found it unsatisfying, mainly because of two things:

1) The ppt slides were not very clear, especially when a slide had multi-panels.

2) The labels for some figures were too small (so I couldn’t tell which variable was shown along the x-axis, or the y-axis, not to mention its values or units).

So, before the webcast for the CESM Ocean Model Working Group Meeting on Jan. 22-23, 2013, I emailed the CESM office with my suggestions for improvement. Well, the office didn’t think much of them.

To my surprise, the quality of this webcast was pretty good (except for a tech glitch at the beginning, which didn’t bother me because I was still in my deep-sleep cycle due to 3-hour time difference and the fact tat there was no reminder one day before the meeting). The full screen is like a wide-screen movie. The 1/3 space on the left is split into upper (for the speaker) and lower (for the meeting’s info) halves, and the rest is used for showing the ppt. (Some speaker never moved his head once for the entire 15-min talk, the same turned head looking at the ppt screen to his left. Ouch!) The decent webcast quality motivated me to get up at 5:30 am today, joining other 40 or so colleagues to tune in remotely.

Considering soon or later, we will be giving a talk to remote audience, which the SciNet will start in 2-3 days, I thought I will share some thoughts with you so at least you know how a (picky) remote audience wants.

1) Make each slide is clear, including using large fonts for writing (I would go for font size 28, but no smaller than 24) and for labels (you want people to see the variable names and their values and units).

2) Use as few (side by side) panels as possible. Do not use thumbnail size (unless the main feature is highlight and easy to be glanced at).

3) Do not show a table with 18 parameters, because you can’t expect people to read it afar. (What you could do is to highlight a few parameters and make the rest “nearly invisible” to make a point of how hard you have worked.)

4) Make sure your ppt is compatible, especially when you have an embedded movie. (Some Mac user had trouble playing a movie on a PC. Sounds familiar? It happens too often.)

5) If your pointer cannot be seen by remote viewers, use words to describe which panel you are referring to: “Notice the red curve in the left panel; it shows global-mean surface temperature over 100 years."

Of course, more of all, I want to hear a good story.

Happy webcasting!

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