This week I’m going to write about my views and thoughts on some tools which can be used for sharing information online (e.g. presentations, vlogs…).
There are many programmes available for sharing videos and podcasts these days. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure you are familiar with two of the most famous websites for sharing videos: YouTube and Vimeo. These sites are popular for all categories that you can imagine, not only research. For example, there are plenty of people just talking about themselves or their passions in what it’s called a “vlog”. If you are able to reach to a considerable amount of people, then you can make a profession out of it and become a “YouTuber” (actually, there are people making a huge amount of money because of this). For instance, in order to illustrate the concept of vlog, I enclose the following video about surfing in California (thanks to the author for letting me use it here!):
Apart from that, from a research point of view, you can always try to find information about a certain methodology, manufacturing process and so on in order to learn a bit more about an specific topic. For example, nowadays it’s quite easy to find video-tutorials for specific software such as Microsoft Office. In my particular case, during the years I have found some videos created with screencast tools very interesting and useful with regards to CAD modelling (e.g. AutoCAD, Catia…). They allow you to capture the images from your screen while you work and record your voice at the same time. On the other hand, these tools can also be dangerous. I’m saying this because I know there are hundreds of video-tutorials of Finite Element Analysis which have been done with this technique, and a lot of people tend to “learn” from them. That’s a huge mistake! When you create a model for a numerical analysis, the conditions are always different so, maybe for one case you will have to define some specific feature and other times you won’t have to! Many people just repeat what they see in their future work, without thinking about it! That is the main reason why in this blog I usually write things about FEA trying to explain particular concepts so that users will then decide whether they need them or not.
With regards to presentations, everyone has experience with Microsoft PowerPoint, but there are other tools which can give amazing results. In my case, I have some experience with Prezi, which is kind of a dynamic presentation which, in my opinion, is visually more attractive than PowerPoint. Nevertheless, I’m afraid I am not able to share what I did in Prezi here, since it was part of a group project and it would involve other people’s work. On the other hand, in my current research I am using PowerPoint because of format and template requirements but, once again, I’m afraid that although I’ve done quite a few of them, I am not allowed to share them online. However, I think that online sites for uploading presentations is a great idea, mainly for technical information. For example, if you go to a conference and you would really like to have the slides from one of the topics, you could just go to websites such as SlideShare and download it! But in my opinion, presentations usually suffers of lack of content, since the information will be completed by the author. For that reason I don’t usually find it useful to look for presentations which I haven’t attended… but that is a good point for TED (which was introduced last week), as it allows you to watch these kind of things whenever you want, and then after that you can look for the presentations!
To sum up, I would like to say that despite the fact that right now I cannot share information about my research, I will probably try to use these tools (specially regarding presentations) when the time for publishing my first paper arrives!