Episode 6. Tom Ups our Podcast Game

Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

Episode 6: Tom Ups Our Podcast Game

(recorded September 23, 2016)
Karen, Amy, Alison, and Danny have a new mic setup, thanks to Producer Tom. We talk about Google Voice typing, our upcoming trainings we're working on for Program Conference, and we also do an App Roundup.

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screenshot: accessibility.umn.edu


Check out the completely redesigned digital accessibility website, Accessible U! 

http://accessibility.umn.edu/

When I first clicked on this new site in my email, I have to admit I was expecting pages of policies and cautions and lots of scolding. SNORE!

But trust me on this, you will love this resource! It is a concise treasure trove of practical resources. It was developed for and by members of the University of Minnesota community (including our very own Alison Holland!).

Why Accessibility?

As the designers, creators, and implementers of technology, we can positively or negatively impact the ability of individuals to access and use what we create. Why put up unnecessary barriers, when they are easy to remove? Also, increased accessibility helps everyone use our digital materials better! Who hasn't used closed captioning? Or struggled to see low-contrast text?

Core Skills

The site is based around SIX CORE SKILLS of accessibility. These rules come in handy for Google docs, web pages, presentations, Moodle courses, videos, all kinds of things Extension does every day. And in fact, there are pages on the site for each of those things! But first, the six skills.

The six core skills of accessibility:

  1. Headings and document structure
  2. Hyperlinks
  3. Bullets and numbered lists
  4. Video captions
  5. Color and contrast
  6. Alternative text for images

These skills will improve your communications for everyone who reads them. Check out the site and let us know what you found interesting by leaving a comment! I personally have gotten a bit lazy with accessibility and found the Advocacy page to be just the re-motivation I needed!



Last February, Google introduced voice recognition into Google Docs. You can dictate your documents without having to install any additional software or plug-ins, and it’s actually pretty good! I don’t normally use dictation software myself so I can’t compare Google Voice typing with Dragon or other dictation software, but I can focus on how to use Google Voice typing and share some useful tips.

Note: Google Voice Typing only works in Chrome browsers and on mobile devices

Getting Started

Your microphone needs to be on and working. I used the onboard microphone on my laptop but if you work in a noisy office or open area, your best option is to use a headset mic.
  1. Open a Google document 
  2. Click Tools and select Voice Typing
  3. Click the microphone when you are ready to dictate. If you are prompted to give Google permission to use your microphone, click Allow.
  4.  The microphone will change to red with a circle around it. Speak clearly at a normal pace and volume.  
  5. Click the microphone again when you are done.

How to handle mistakes

If you make a mistake while you are dictating, no worries. Just move your cursor to the mistake and fix it without turning off the microphone. After you fix your mistake, move your cursor back to where you want to continue.

Adding Punctuation

You can use the following phrases to add punctuation:
  • Period
  • Comma
  • Exclamation point
  • Question mark
  • New line
  • New paragraph

Getting Fancy with Formatting

You can use commands to edit and format your document. Using words like “Select last word”, “Bold” or “Insert table [5] rows by [3] columns”.

There are multiple commands for selecting text, formatting, editing, tables, and moving around the document. Here are a few of the common ones:

Selecting Text:
  • Select [word or phrase]
  • Select all
  • Select paragraph
  • Select word
  • Select next word
  • Select next [#] words
  • Deselect
Formatting:
  • Align center/left/right
  • Apply heading [1–6]
  • Apply normal text
  • Apply subtitle
  • Bold
  • Italics
  • Font size [6-400]
  • Decrease indent
  • Increase indent
  • Line spacing double
  • Create bulleted list
  • Create numbered list
  • Insert bullet
  • Insert number
  • Clear formatting
Editing:
  • Copy
  • Cut
  • Paste
  • Copy link
  • Delete
  • Insert table
  • Insert row
  • Insert column
To open a list of voice commands in your document, say:
  • Voice typing help
  • Voice commands list
  • See all voice commands

Google Voice Typing Example



I would love to hear what you think about Google Docs voice typing. If you already use Dragon or other dictation software, I'd like to know how Google voice typing compares! Post your comments or questions on the blog. 

Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

Episode 5: We'll see you at the Fair!

(recorded August 26, 2016)
Stephanie, Amy, Alison, and Danny talk about Google Forms. We also do an App Roundup and answer listener questions!



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In recent years, Google Drive has increasingly provided intuitive, collaborative, and functional alternatives to more familiar software programs, including Google Forms, their answer to research-inquiry tools like SurveyMonkey. If you’re reluctant to make the switch, here are some tips that may just make you a convert!

Customizations
When you’re editing a form, the icons on the top right hand side of the screen allow you to adjust and personalize the form to meet your needs:
  • Click the Color Palette to change the general color scheme. Selecting the last palette option (an image icon) will give you more choices as well as the option to upload your own header. Whether you upload something from the Extension Image Gallery or select an applicable Google-generated theme, glamming up your questionnaire can improve the user experience and even add some sophisticated flair to an otherwise run-of-the-mill survey!
  • Clicking the eye symbol will open a new tab to give you a sneak peek of the form from the perspective of a prospective respondent. Definitely take advantage of this tool throughout the process of building your form to avoid mistakes that might jeopardize your results.
  • The gear symbol opens up a variety of unique adjustable options, some of which are crucial depending on the purpose of your form. For example, if it is not meant to be a blind survey but rather the answers must match up with the name of the respondent, be sure to select “Collect email address” under the “General” tab. The “Quizzes” tab will also allow you to treat the form as a test. These are great options to use in situations where you are evaluating student progress as you are able to collect responses, monitor when submissions are made, and have Google Forms automatically assign grades.

Progressive Questioning
A great feature that can be utilized when generating definitive responses using “Dropdown” or “Multiple Choice” questions is exemplified on the Extension Technology Purchasing Program form you receive when your work computer warranty expires. The first question of that form prompts you to select a “Laptop” or a “Desktop,” and your response signals the form to move to a section specifically asking follow-up questions based on your original selection. Rather than having you figure out which accessories apply to a laptop versus a desktop, you are presented only with relevant options. This feature allows you to design your questionnaire with a progressive flow, with the potential to generate more comprehensive evaluation and create a more personalized user experience. While SurveyMonkey also offers this feature, it is only available in the paid versions. Google Form, however, offers this feature for free!


To create progressive questioning, you must first separate questions into sections by selecting the last question box before you would like a page jump, then pushing the icon that resembles a thick equal sign (“Add section”) at the bottom of the vertical menu to the right of the box. When “Go to section based on answer” is selected, drop down menus will appear beside the different answers and you may select which section should follow each selection.

Response/Data Collection
Once you've previewed your form and feel confident that everything is ready to send, there's a massive "SEND" button in the top right corner that will bring up plenty of self-explanatory options. One great feature here is the ability to select "Include form in email." If you have separate sections, only the first section question(s) will appear in the body of the email. Submitting responses from the first section will open another tab to continue the questionnaire.

At the top of the form body, you will see "Questions" and "Responses." The "Responses" view allows you to visualize data derived from responses, send reminders to those that have not submitted responses, and download responses into an organized spreadsheet. While creating a spreadsheet using Google Sheets will allow answers to continue to populate, be aware that downloading the responses to an Excel spreadsheet will only capture a snapshot of the responses at the time of downloading.

More Information
In case you’re still unconvinced, or perhaps you’re intimidated by the idea of learning a new tool, Google has some great information and a Help Center to ease the transition!

Have you used Google Forms, and if so - how? Any tips for making more dynamic questionnaires? Any requests for future, more in-depth Google Forms posts? Leave a comment and let us know!
Podcast Episode 4. Where my dogs at?

Quick Bytes Live! Podcast

Episode 4: Where my dogs at?

(recorded August 12, 2016)
Karen, Amy, Alison, and Danny talk about Office Mix and using it for recording PowerPoint. We also do an App Roundup and answer listener questions.

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Office Mix is a free PowerPoint add-in that allows you to record audio or video of yourself presenting, write on your slides as you speak and even do a screen recording if you want to demonstrate something. In an April Quick Bytes post, I shared how you can record audio right in PowerPoint (2013 or later) and save it as an MP4 video. Office Mix makes recording easier with a toolbar that contains the needed tools for recording.

Office Mix software

Office Mix is a free download from  https://mix.office.com/en-us/Home. After installation, Office Mix has its own tab on the ribbon in PowerPoint.

Office Mix ribbon
The buttons you will likely use on the Office Mix ribbon are Slide Recording, Screen Recording, Export to Video and Preview. While Mix is great for narration and screen recording, it includes some additional interactive features such as adding quizzes, web pages and apps that do not convert to MP4 video and are not recommended. MP4 is the best option for sharing video and uploading to YouTube.

Slide Recording

With your presentation open in PowerPoint, on the Mix tab, click the Slide Recording button. This opens the recording mode.

In recording mode, you will see your slide presentation in the main body of the screen. To the right you will see the audio and video panel where you can select audio and video inputs and check your volume. If you want to draw on your slides, you can choose a pen size and ink color.


At the top you will see your slide notes and when you are ready, click Record. During your recording, you can draw on your slides, trigger slide animations and advance to the next slide.
 
Record one slide at a time. If you mess up your recording, click Stop and preview your recording or delete and re-record your slide. When you are done, click the close button. You are now back in PowerPoint’s normal slide view.

Re-recording a single slide

Your audio recording is saved with your file so you can re-record or edit your presentation at any time.

Screen Recording

You can use screen recording to record anything on your computer. The recording can be included as part of a narrated PowerPoint video or can be saved as its own video. To record your computer screen, open the application or webpage that you want to show. You will be prompted to define the area/window you want to record. Click Record when you are ready to demonstrate. Audio is optional but it makes for a better recording. To pause or stop recording, hover your mouse over the top of the screen and press stop or pause.

Export to Video

To create an MP4 video, click Export to Video from the Mix tab. If you plan to upload to YouTube, choose Full HD. It may take some time to create your video. 

Here is a Mix I created that explains this whole process: