Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More powerpoint adventures (or not!)

Inspired by the old ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ (CYOA) books which we all read in our youth (didn’t we?), the idea behind the CYOA power-points is to empower the user by giving him choices about what he wants to learn, and to do this in an interactive way in order to facilitate engagement.

This is far more difficult than it sounds for information literacy-type areas. Firstly, the subject matter is pretty dry - its difficult enough to generate enthusiasm when you have a face-to-face ‘information literacy’ class and have the best jokes and props to hand, so to try and generate interest on a standalone power-point is a challenge that we still have to conquer. Also, in my experience classroom sessions work best when run within their subject context, drawing on meaningful subject examples and especially when you tackle their forthcoming essay question ! – to tailor a CYOA powerpoint essentially means starting from scratch and is pretty resource-intensive.

Secondly, it is actually far harder to create one of these adventures than it first seems. A 3-choice, 20-30 slide CYOA power-point takes at least a day to create. This is because the whole slide show needs to be meticulously mapped out before-hand: one extra explanatory slide in the presentation can put the whole adventure out and 100+ links will need amending.

Hopefully these problems can be mitigated by adding colour, pictures and possibly even sound to enliven the adventure. Part of our project is about learning what works well as an RLO and what doesn’t, and we will certainly be evaluating this in more detail.

If you have had experience creating CYOA powerpoints, we’d be interested to hear from you!