Sociable Spirit

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely…

Student Presentation Alternatives in Distance Learning/Teaching

Since many of us (or maybe ALL at this point) are switching to a distance learning/teaching environment, an alternative to face-to-face student presentations in seminars could be the use of Microsoft PPTs with a voice over narration OR with speaker notes (for those who find the first intimidating or have limited internet access — we should be flexible in the present circumstances). So, in the following I will share with you how to…

Or, alternatively, how to…

Note: I am using a Hungarian version of the Power Point app, so that’s what you will see on the illustrations. I will try and give the English equivalents of the options you have to click on. Also, you can download the PDF version of this tutorial.

How to record a narration to your PPT slides and save it as an MP4 video file?

Once the slides of your presentation are in place, you can add to them a voice over narration with or without a video (of you, the presenter). NOTE: Maybe don’t use fancy transition moves between the slides as they tend to enlarge the final file and, more importantly, your narration is not being recorded during slide transitions!Choose the Slide Show [Diavetités] option from the main menu of Microsoft Power Point application. Click on the RECORD SLIDE SHOW [Diavetités rögzítése] option — you can start recording from the first slide (beginning of your presentation), or from any slide you are working on at the moment.

Record Slide Show option in PPT

By clicking on the Record Slide Show option, the program will switch to a presentation mode. In the top left corner you will see the record options (record | stop | play), you will have access to your notes (about this more in the section on how to add speaker notes to your slides) and set up your microphone and camera options (it’s best to leave them at their default settings :)). At the bottom of the page you have additional options at your behest: you can erase, circle and highlight textual passages on your slide, mute the microphone (in case your slide is running an audio or video file), and add or delete the camera recording of the speaker (it’s ON by default, see the right bottom corner). With the arrows on the left and right you can transition between the slides and continue with the recording (or work on each separately).

Once you are done with the recording (of a slide) the Design menu will pop up on the right side of your main Power Point window offering you choices: how you would like to display your narrated slide (especially if you are using the speaker camera).

Thank God, you can DELETE the recordings from your slides (individually or from the whole presentation altogether — cf. image below). Practice makes perfect. And don’t be dismayed by your voice (or your hairdo!) — I definitely won’t judge you on how you appear in a home made videos (pot/kettle ;)). I will pay more attention to what you are saying and displaying on your slides 🙂

Once you are finished with your project, go to the FILE option in the main menu, click on SAVE AS (mentés másként) and choose the location where you want to save your presentation and, more importantly, the file output format as MP4. Note: You might want to save your presentation as a PPT first (just in case you need to work on it later) 😊

[For those of you who would like to explore this or other PPT features in more detail visit the official support site by clicking on this LINK.]

How to upload to a dropbox folder following a request link?

In case you didn’t know: if you have a GMAIL account then you also have a YouTube platform/channel. So, if you want to, you can upload your presentation video to your own YouTube channel and share the private or public link to a designated CooSpace [the online course platform at University of Szeged] folder/forum.

However, you can also upload your video presentation file to a dropbox folder I have created for our course. You just have to click on a request file link (which will be provided in the course scene) and follow the instruction on the screen. Once the presentation videos are in the dropbox folder I will create a viewing link (to each) and post it in a dedicated course forum where your peers can watch it and add comments to it.

This is how a file request link works. Click on a link provided (in a news-board announcement on CooSpace). The link will take you to a page similar to the one seen below. To upload your file, simply click on the CHOOSE FILES button. A file explorer (fájlkezelő) will pop up and you will have to choose the file you wish to (well, more like must) upload.

Once you have chosen your file, dropbox will ask you to provide your contact info (so that I know who the uploader is). After you fill in your info just click on the UPLOAD button (see image below).

How to add speaker notes to your slides?

If you find all of the above intimidating or if you have limited access to internet (and uploading a video would be cumbersome), you can choose to provide your presentation in a written format by adding speaker notes to your slides.

You can add notes to your slides simply by clicking on the VIEW (Nézet) option (underlined) in the main menu of Microsoft Power Point app and clicking on the NOTES (Jegyzetek) option.

  • Write your notes in the split (bottom) window of your power point screen. Please, write complete sentences and paragraphs – don’t just add a draft and bullet point list (that’s what the slide is for!). You peers and I would like to be able to follow the train of your thought and argument. This is how it should look like (note: I am using the lorem impsum dolor text for illustration purposes only!). Also NOTE that if you need more space for your notes, you can enlarge the notes’ window/screen by resizing it (as you would any application window on your desktop — just drag up or down the line separating your slide and your notes).

How to save your presentation with your notes into a PDF document

To save your PPT as a PDF with the notes, go to FILE and instead of the SAVE (or SAVE AS) option click on PRINT. Choose the Microsoft Print to PDF option and make sure to click on the option arrow in choosing what portion of the presentation you want to print. Click on the PRINT ALL SLIDES (Az összes dia nyomtatása) option — it should be the default setting but just in case).

Finally, click on the small arrow to display the slide page options (the way you want to print your slides — usually it is set on the FULL PAGE SLIDE so you will have to) choose the NOTES PAGE option from the pop up menu. So, your final document will look like the page in the preview (displaying both the slide and your notes).

When all of the above is done, click PRINT (finally! right?) and don’t forget choose the location/folder on your computer where you want it to be saved/printed.

OK, so this is really the final step: upload your presentation’s PDF into a designated folder or forum on the CooSpace. That’s it. No really, that’s IT. 🙂

What’s in his ROMANCE kiss?

[Happy New Year — 2020 — to you all! I decided to launch a series of posts under the category of Footnote Fodder containing tidbits from my readings that I find curious and genuinely interesting but have, as of yet, no way to incorporate in any of my publishing projects. They seem too good/bizarre not to share. Enjoy! ;)]

If your brain is anything like mine then you are sometimes plagued with random songs like I am. In my case, the songs materialize triggered by semantic knowledge (i.e. encounter with words reminiscent of the lyrics) and stay lodged in my brain’s auditory cortex. So, I have Thomas Heywood to blame for “The Shoop Shoop Song” running in loop on my brain. And it runs like an ironical commentary in Cher’s voice:

If you want to know if he loves you so
It’s in his kiss
That’s where it is
Whoa oh it’s in his kiss
That’s where it is.

Why ironical? Because reading Thomas Heywood’s Gynaikeion: or, Nine books of various history concerning women inscribed by ye names of ye nine Muses (London: Printed by Adam Islip, 1624), in “The Third Book of Women, inscribed Thalia” one comes upon the alleged origin of kisses:

… the use of Wine was not knowne amongst them [the Roman matrons and virgins]; for that woman was taxed with immodestie, whose breath was knowne to smell of grape. Pliny in his natural historie, saith, That Cato was of opinion, That the vse of kissing first began betwixt kinsman and kinswoman, howsoeuer neere allide or farra off, onelie by that to know whether their wiues, daughters, or neeces, had tasted any wine: to this Iuuenall seems to allude in these verses:

Paucae adeo cereris vittas contingere Digna
Quarum non time at pater oscula. (p. 118)*

Well, if this does not throw a nasty wrench into the romantic notion about kisses. Sorry Jules, nothing personal.

Of course, Heywood is quick to dismiss the above as a custom of bygone days (and places) acknowledging that “kissing and drinking both are now growne (it seems) to a greater custome amongst vs that in those days with the Romans: nor am I so austeare to forbid the vse of either…” (ibid).

But it certainly puts the following two verses from the Song of Songs into a different perspective:

How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! And the smell of thine ointments than all spices! Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue… (4:10-11)

Also, are we talking about a French or a Roman kiss? Comment if you know. Until you come up with a veritable source, I am opting for Romance Kiss — as in Romance languages, nothing romantic really 😉

*There are so few worthy to touch the fillets of Ceres,
Whose kisses a father would not fear.
(Transl. by Martin Madan. In A New and Literal Translation of Juvenal and Persius, vol. 1. London, 1789, p. 231)

A feminist adaptation of Paradise Lost

Hell is but a state of mind, they say, and I certainly feel like in Hell for not being able to attend in August the Stratford Festival’s modern Paradise Lost, a theatrical adaptation of Milton’s epic directed by Jackie Maxwell and written by Erin Shields. It’s heralded as a “witty, modern, feminist retelling of” Paradise Lost. So I do fervently hope that this retelling will go beyond the casting choice for Satan who is to be played by Lucy Peacock, although, I must admit she looks quite intriguing on the play’s poster image dressed in full snakeskin outfit (PETA be damned, its probably fake anyway ;)).

Lucy Peacock as Satan

Lucy Peacock as Satan in Stratford Festival’s modern Paradise Lost. Photography by Clay Stang – The Garden.

Van der Goes, The Fall

The Fall by Hugo van der Goes (1467-68). Oil on oak. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Not that I doubt Peacock’s ability to be a deviously witty tempter. I am cautious in my anticipation because of the long literary and visual art’s tradition of associating sin with Eve, and consequently with women, which has already produced paintings in which the distinction between Satan (the tempter) and its erstwhile target (Eve) has been blurred rendering the Tempter and its manipulated subject (the snake) into a single female snake character; a fit representation from the perspective of the patriarchal discourse that puts the whole blame of the-Fall-debacle on women. But this gender bending is hardly enough in and of itself from a feminist point of view that would ultimately challenge this resilient patriarchal assumption (i.e. that women are to be blamed for all the bad things befalling mankind). All in all, I am curious in what way is this retelling going to be a feminist one.

Also, I am positively intrigued by the authors’ decision to work with a small cast and, hence, have actors play two polar opposite characters in different parts of the play (e.g. Jessica B. Hill playing both the character of Beelzebub and Gabriel). Very early modern indeed.

I am looking forward to the play’s reviews but just in case G. S. is reading this and thinking about founding a scholar of modest means from East-Central Europe, I would be delighted to attend in person and watch it myself. Just in case.




NEPTUN: “And found no end, in wandering mazes lost”

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary the word Neptun originates from “late 14c., ‘god of the sea,’ from Latin Neptunus, son of Saturn, brother of Jupiter, the Roman god of the sea (later identified with Greek Poseidon), probably from PIE root *nebh- ‘cloud’ (source of Latin nebula ‘fog, mist, cloud’ ).” I don’t know whether the developers of the Neptun Student Information System (sic!) were consciously or unwittingly choosing its name, but there certainly is more fog, mist and cloud-shrouded uncertainty surrounding it, than clear direction and information. We also learn from the OE Dictionary, that “[u]ntill the indentificatin of Pluto in 1930, it was the most distant planet known” — hm, again, one wonders if the developers knew ahead how far removed their system will be from the actual, known needs of Hungarian uni populations. Also, how can one expect anything good from a system that is introduced with the following sentence by the University (BME) it was developed for:

“This can be a blessing or a curse, but a real means, a surface to manage your student self throughout your studies at our institution.”

There is not much solace in knowing that our University (SZTE) was the last to give in and shift to the government enforced system. So, if at the start of this semester you feel like finding no end, in wandering mazes lost, you are entitled to some despair. I too, whenever daring the nebulous entrails of Neptun, encounter–to quote Milton again–

But cloud in stead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the chearful wayes of men
Cut off, and for the Book of knowledg fair
Presented with a Universal blanc
Of Nature’s works to mee expung’d and ras’d,
And wisdome at one entrance quite shut out. (PL 3.45-50)

Space may produce new Worlds

Welcome to my corner of the web. It’s presently under construction but hopefully it will soon become more than a mere playground for my budding web-making-skills.

Illustration from The Book of the City of Ladies by Christine Pisan

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