Dialogues: Digital Storytelling with Microsoft Sway

In this session we demonstrated the functionality of Microsoft’s digital storytelling app.

  • Quickly create interactive and accessible web content without needing to be a web developer.
  • Create and/or share Sways with the rest of the web, just the University or select users.
  • Sway Overview

We then presented a case study on how the software has been used to create Research Digistories as online educational resources for research students. In the case study, Sways have been created using past student work and focus not on the product of the research but on the externalisation of the hidden and personal knowledge involved in the research process itself.

Sway is available to all staff and students by logging into sway.com with their Office 365 credentials. (campusID@newcastle.ac.uk and your university password)

Additional resources

Sway Video Tutorials

Sway Quickstart Guide

Sway Online Course

Office Mix: Making PowerPoints Interactive

Office Mix is a PowerPoint plugin that enables you to take new and existing presentations and transform them into interactive online learning resources that you can easily publish to your website and/or Blackboard. You can use the tool to add:

Voice and Audio narration to your slides

Annotate you slides in real-time

Record your screen to demonstrate a program or process

Quizzes, polls and other interactive content

Videos and live web pages

An excellent range of resources, including some more advanced features, like embedding mixes in webpages, can be found at mixforteachers.com

When you come to publish your mixes you can either publish to a personal account or use your University account which Microsoft refers to as ‘Work or School Account’. Simply sign in with your username@newcastle.ac.uk (e.g. nmb84@newcastle.ac.uk) and your university password.

If you want to track your students’ progress and engagement with your mixes via your Blackboard Module you can use the integrated Office Mix tool in the VLE. This will give you stats on a range of things that you can link to individual students including how many attempts they took to answer questions and time spent on specific slides.

Using the Office Mix Blackboard tool

Please note: Office Mix is currently in Beta which means that it could change or be removed completely in the future. We believe this is very unlikely given the growing popularity of the product and as your mix PowerPoints will remain functional as presentations it is very low risk experiment should you wish to try it.

You can install Office Mix on your personal machine by clicking here

If you wish to install Office Mix on a University machine simply request that your computing officer apply the following policy: ‘4 NUIT Office Mix Beta’


Inserting an Office Mix into a Blackboard Module

Follow these steps to use an Office Mix Placement inside a module in Blackboard:

  1. Go to the module you’d like to use.
  2. In the Tools menu, select Office Mix.
  3. In the Link Name box, type a name.
  4. Configure any additional settings you’d like.
  5. Click Submit.
  6. When you return to the Module, click the item that you just added.
  7. When the item appears, use one of these methods to select a mix:
    • By URL: A simple way to select a mix is to visit the Office Mix website, watch a mix, and copy/paste the URL in the dialog. This method makes it easy to include mixes that have been created by other people.
    • My Mixes: Select a mix from your My Mixes page. In order to prevent students from having to sign in to view a mix, only those mixes with permissions set to Unlisted or Public are shown. You can find our how to set these preferences here
  8. After you have selected a mix, click Yes to confirm that this is the mix you’d like to use.