Online Publishing Tools

University of Idaho


Research has shown that when students write for a tangible audience, their motivation and performance improve. This, in addition to many other reasons, such as engagement with material outside of the class and added communication between teachers and students, shows the value in having students make writing public, which they can do through the use of online publishing tools. Listed below are different types of online publishing tools including those for presentations, writing, and eBooks. 

Presentation Tools
:: Slideshare ::
Slideshare is a tool that allows users to upload a slideshow presentation online and share it with whomever by using a URL or embed code, or sending via email. Users cannot create a presentation using the software or edit the presentation once it is uploaded; presentations must be created using an outside source (e.g., PowerPoint) and then uploaded to the website.

:: Prezi ::
While traditional slideshows move from slide-to-slide with little overlap between one another, Prezi, a cloud-based presentation tool, works on one flat canvas and allows users to zoom in and out to create a show. Users can still customize a path, as if it were a traditional slideshow, but slides often over-lap and/or zoom into/out of themselves for effect. Multiple users can collaborate on presentations at the same time. Share the presentation only without editing capabilities by using the share URL or embed it onto another site. Because it works in real-time, changes automatically update on the published version.

:: Google Slides ::
Google Slides is Google’s equivalent of Microsoft’s PowerPoint. Free to use, Slides allows users to create (and upload) presentations. Using Google’s sharing settings, you can share the presentation with specific people or the public with different levels of authorship, which allows for other users to collaborate on a presentation or only view.  Even once it is published, updates happen in real time – which provides viewers with an always-updated version of the presentation.

:: Brainshark ::
Brainshark allows users to upload a slideshow presentation and share it with others. Once a slideshow is uploaded, users can voice record over the presentation slide-by-slide by using the telephone or a computer microphone. Users can also add additional items such as polls, quizzes, and attachments. Presentations can be shared via a link or embedded onto a web page. Tracking software allows users to track statistics such as how many people viewed the presentation and for how long.

Writing Tools
:: Blogs ::
Blogs are online websites consisting of many short posts/entries. New entries show up chronologically, typically with the newest one at the top. Many websites, such as Wordpress, Tumblr, and Blogger, offer free online blogs to users. Most blogs can be contributed to by multiple users. Blogs can be shared using the URL and most allow the owner to limit who has access to view the blog (e.g., only those with the exact URL or those who it is shared with specifically using an email or username/password).

:: Google Docs ::
Google Docs is Google’s equivalent of Microsoft’s Word. Users can create a word document that is hosted on Google’s cloud software. Documents can be shared with others and collaborated on at the same time, allowing multiple students to work on the same document at the same time. Documents can also be shared with specific people and give them specific permissions (e.g., edit or view only). Documents can also be embedded on outside websites. Changes are automatically synced, so viewers always see the most recent version.

eBook Tools
:: Issuu ::
Free to use, Issuu allows users to upload documents and PDFs and converts them into a flip-animated book. Issuu does not allow users to upload images. Finished products can be shared via a URL but are not editable. To change the content of a document, one must revise the original document and re-upload it to Issuu. Issuu also has a large database of other publications for reader consumption.

:: Scribd ::
Scribd is another online digital library tool. It allows users to upload PDFs, word documents, or presentations and converts them into an online PDF like document. Documents can then be shared using the URL or can be embedded onto other websites. To change the content of a document, one must revise the original document and re-upload it. Scribd also has a large collection of other publications such as the New York Times and books. The Scribd application is compatible across multiple devices (computers, phones, tablets, etc.).

:: Flipsnack ::
Flipsnack, an online flipbook software, allows users to upload multiple images or PDFs and merge them into one full flash page digital publication. Books are easily embedded onto other websites or shared via URL. To change the content of a book, one must revise the original document and re-upload it.

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