Office Mix in depth

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A close look at how to Mix your PowerPoint presentations.

Office Mix is a way to turn a PowerPoint 2013 slide deck into what Microsoft calls an ‘interactive online lesson’. It’s squarely aimed at the educational market.

The idea is to expand a PowerPoint presentation into a full online lesson containing:



  • The presentation that can contain slides, videos and live (secure)web pages
  • Then a quiz on the presentation. True/False, multiple choice, multiple response and free response are available. The quiz questions can include feedback customized for right and wrong answers.

The name ‘mix’ comes from the concept of mixing videos, quizzes and other content into the presentation.

Mix is a simple way to convert a PowerPoint slides into an online presentation. One use would be to record a video of your meeting and post it with the slides online. Or record the audio from your presentation to accompany the slides.

Each ‘mix’ presentation is published to a private web site (hosted by Microsoft). You give a web link to people who can view the presentation on most web browsers and devices (says Microsoft).

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The presenter can see results as people view and interact with the ‘mix’. The ‘Mix’ includes analytics showing quiz results and other details. If login is required for the presentation, you can see the results for each individual.

Office-Watch.com has made a very simple Mix presentation with an example of each element available. A short video, an embedded web page and one quiz of each type. You can view it at https://mix.office.com/watch/1DMCOUTQ59M7V no login is required.

It’s been possible to post PowerPoint presentations online for viewing before this, Mix is a lot easier to use. The viewing options are a lot broader and accessible than past Microsoft efforts. While Mix is intended for educational purposes, there’s no apparent reason why it can’t be used by others.


Making a Mix

Go to https://mix.office.com/ to start with Office Mix.

There’s a 3.8MB Mix addin necessary to make ‘mixed’ presentations which only works with PowerPoint 2013. Once installed and your computer restarts, PowerPoint 2013 gets a new ribbon:

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Record

Let’s you record video and audio and put it directly into a presentation. The video can be recorded using an attached camera/webcam. Click on the Record button to get this imposing full screen:

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Across the top are options to record audio only or audio and video. You can navigate between slides and preview or delete existing recordings.

There’s no explicit option to record video only but on the right column you can set the audio to lowest volume or an input option that isn’t working.

Use the Audio only option to record your spoken words to go with a slide.


Quizzes, Videos, Apps

To add quizzes and other special content you need to add Office apps as well. Click on ‘Quizzes Videos Apps’ then Store to see what’s available.

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At present there are four quiz options: True/False, Multiple Choice, Multiple Response Poll and Free Response.

There’s also a web viewer which lets you embed a current web page into the presentation. For unstated ‘security’ reasons, only secure (https) web pages are supported.

The other choices are additional educational resources.

Each quiz format has hints that can display to a stumped student. Also responses for answers (right or wrong). Sadly there’s no easy way to reorder answers after entry. The only way you can do it is to laboriously cut and paste each answer into other fields.

At top right of each quiz add-in is a wedge/arrow, click on that to see some more options:

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All the add-ins are stored online and downloaded as required. This may cause some problems on a slow Internet connection or when you’re offline with PowerPoint.

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Screen recording

This lets you recording actions on your computer screen from either full screen or a selected region.

The obvious use is for software demonstrations or help but you can display anything visible on a computer screen or program.


Screenshot

This is the same as the Screenshot feature available on the regular Insert tab.


Mix

Finally there are choices for uploading your Mix presentation.

Preview

Upload – will send the Mix to Microsoft’s servers for people to see.

Export to Video – you can create a video version of the Mix. Obviously the video can’t have the interactive quizzes.

Once uploaded, the mix is shown in your Mix account page:

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The Share option is where you get a link to viewing the presentation online.

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Each Mix presentation can be controlled for viewing:

Private – only the creator can view. For Mixes in development or older ones not currently used.

Shareable – anyone with the link can view the Mix but they have to login using a Microsoft, organization, Facebook or Google account.

Public – anyone can watch the Mix


Who can view a ‘Mix’

The full situation at the moment is “You can watch a mix on a wide array of devices. We support the latest version of all major browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari) on desktops, laptops and Windows tablets.

The full interactive experience will also be available on Apple® and Google Android™ tablets very soon. For now, we support mixes as videos on these devices.

For Windows Phone, Apple® iPhone® and Android-based smartphones, mixes can be viewed as videos

In our tests there were problems with the latest Firefox for Windows release.


More

Microsoft has a series of How to videos online to get you started https://mix.office.com/WatchList/HowTo

There are also some sample presentations available at https://mix.office.com/WatchList/Featured We liked ‘Air is Squishy‘ and not just for the cute title. It has a good mix of audio overlay, video and animations appropriate to the content.

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