Office Mix: Trials and Tribulations

office-mix-stacked-logoHere is my sincere review of the new plug-in for PowerPoint® – Office Mix.

Good lordy loo, where do I begin? First, if you’re not sure about what I’m talking about, please add this plug-in to your already existing software and play around with it. You can get started with some small projects by viewing these tutorials. Oh, and if you forgo reading this entire blog post, and you come across a super problem, it probably isn’t your mistake or your computer but an error or issue with Office Mix that is preventing your I_love_cats.pptx from not working as a Mix.

There’s a saying somewhere that describes lazy people being the best workers, simply because they’ll find a workaround to anything to get the job done fast. Alright. If you mix super lazy, speedy fast and accurate task-completer, and über-ly meticulous professional together… you’ve got me. Let me explain…

The Beginning

Everyone and their brother use Articulate Storyline. Fresh out of IDD school and I come to find out they taught me ZERO about software. I was picked and plopped in front of my desk without any Storyline experience whatsoever.  Luckily, I am a super fast learner and all around awesome person so it doesn’t really matter ;).

During my first month of being an IDDer, I had a grand opportunity to take training courses and learn anything I wanted! My mind exploded! Then, all of a sudden I had my first course and needed to learn the basics before I could add my own creativity. That first course came out as basic as a mocha frappuccino; served its purpose, super generic, yet delicious.

Next came my second course – I teetered back and forth: How do I add some interactivity in here? Well if I create an interactive component I need to make sure that I have time to complete it before the course is due- let’s start with something small!

Baby Steps

A very basic presentation of content was created. Students had the opportunity to choose one of two final projects for the course. I showcased the overview of each type of projects and the components associated in a spider web form of instruction. It was cool, hip, and easy. Right? A different way to access information instead of a document? Great! I’m done!

Yeah right…Woopty do…

It just wasn’t enough sparkle and pizzaz for my crazy-filled brain that just wanted more, more, and more!

So then this whole big craze about Office Mix swept my office. My director is so excited about it that he’s actually piloting a few of us to push it in our March courses for use by our SMEs and students. Others feel like it’s just another presentation tool.

Let’s get to the review, please!

Do you know PowerPoint® like the back of your hand? Awesome.
Are you willing to narrate or use video recording to relay information in an interactive way? Great.
Are you incredibly patient? Hmm
Do you have a tablet and stylus? Me either…

Pros

  1. Great if you want a narrative walk-through of a presentation, similar to a .ppsx
    • Gives the narrator the ability actually to record their own video via webcam or use screenshot abilities – similar to drawing on a SMARTboard in front of a class.
  2. Your Mix lives in cyberspace
    • LOVE the idea of updating a “file” that lives on the internet because it will instantly update wherever!
    • I think Office Mix is stepping towards this idea of cloud storage (MS 365) that everyone is super gung-ho about (including me)
  3. FREE
    • No explanation needed
  4. EASY
    • Depending on who you ask. But no really, easy as pie. Very small learning curve if any.
  5. FAST and POLITE customer service
    • I actually received a response from a rep at Microsoft who is the leader in the Mix department – fast, friendly, and answered my question without a condescending attitude! Rock on!

Cons

  1. Big huge con for what I needed to do: No ability to record audio files and “slide record” while triggering my transitions.
        • Mix says, “You cannot record on this slide because there is another media file present.” What on EARTH?! This is such a simple thing! The makers of Mix totally did this on purpose too, especially since there is a little disclaimer!
        • So you know what I had to do?? Live record every slide and silently press my spacebar as I came to each trigger word in my speech so the content would show as I presented it. I know it sounds petty, but this was a big deal as I value chunking in these types of presentation. It took a lot more planning from my side, but looking on the bright side: I had developed a transcript without knowing I needed to make one for accessibility purposes! Score!
          • I tested it out before I threw away the idea: I created an audio file of narration. Then, what I inserted it onto a slide. I wanted to screen record while the audio played and as I heard key words I would tab through my transitions of making content appear. Oh, noooo I couldn’t!
        • Check this out –this first slide with the Venn diagram took me an hour to 1) read correctly 2) and trigger correctly  ALL in one take. That’s a waste of time.
  2. Cannot make a Mix with hidden slides
    • What if I wanted to make a trivia game?  Learners can see all of the slides! No fun at all!
      • It’s like seeing your Christmas presents under the stairs in the linen closet when you’re 12 years old, and you shouldn’t believe in Santa, but you kind of do, but you know it’s wrong and you just want to magic to stay alive forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (me)

ProCon

  1. Mark-up on screen recording.
    • While helpful and useful to point out important information, you better have a tablet and a stylus unless you don’t mind being messy. I don’t know about you, but my mouse capabilities are not as pretty as I’d like them to be. If I needed to write out a mathematical equation, you bet I willtype out each line of the equation before I write it with my mouse and marker on the screen recorder.

The Nitty Gritty

I like Office Mix. A lot of my colleagues do not. I know exactly why: They know there’s better software out there. The problem is my time was limited. My time may continue to be limited and I will not mind continuing to use Mix as long as I need to. There’s a lot Mix developers need to do, and they know there is a need for them to get a new update up and running quickly.

Another Sample Mix for your viewing pleasure!

I’m out

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