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Posts Tagged ‘excel’

  1. The look of things

    May 20, 2015 by Robin Englebright

    This post is very much thinking out loud…As previously discussed we’ve been looking for a simple way of generating assessment timelines using readily available tools, and little or no training overhead and minimal ongoing support.

    We’ve found a useful Excel timeline template the output of which should help staff visualise assessment timing, and consider the overall assessment burden on their students… and once set assist students in their time management.

    But what’s the best way of rendering that data? In documents it’s a clear case of copy and paste from the source spreadsheet, but online, how well does Excel data travel.

    Linking to a spreadsheet is a bit poor, the spreadsheet has to be downloaded, though it may be worth investigating embedding a spreadsheet shared through O365, or Googledocs.

    Office 365 is a whole different kettle of fish… staff don’t have it by default here, so for the moment I’m going to skip this option (testing offers tantalising hints, but it needs proper investigation).
    Google doesn’t like the Excel spreadsheet format, but does offer some alternative timeline tools, unfortunately Edublogs doesn’t seem to like the iframe this sits in, and ignores it when added in the “text” view screen.

    <iframe src=";headers=false"></iframe>

    Alternatively we can try and build the actual outputs as html, Excel offers SaveAs a single file webpage, and .mht file… this is a web archive format, and doesn’t seem to play well with the blog, which is a shame as keeping all the components together is tricky when adding assets to a CMS like WordPress. Saving as a webpage provides an .htm file and a folder of assets, and in fact creates a .PNG of the timeline, which hints at the approach we will probably end up taking, simply taking a screenshot and adding that to our planning blog:

    assessment timeline as a .PNG



  2. just in time

    May 6, 2015 by Robin Englebright

    I’ve seen timeline tools being used to great effect in a number of situations , but unfortunately they are all a bit of a palaver to set up, and in some situations are just too darn interactive.

    We’ve been discussing how best to view assessment timings down here at the city campus, both for students, so they have a clear overview to help them manage their time effectively, and for staff, who are mainly focused on a modular delivery, to help appreciate the bigger picture.

    For simplicity I’ve decided to have a look at what sort of timelines can be created by staff on a mac using standard office software. The output is a visualisation of a table of data, so whilst it would be good if it produced accessible output, it may be better to create an time ordered plain text version of the data to support screen reader use.

    Excel templates

    Microsoft offer some timeline templates which are fairly simple to use, but these are linked to Office365, and do require a Microsoft account for access.

    Office timeline templates

    However there are plenty of other templates available. The one below was from tidy form. It generates the timeline from data in a small table, and includes a label height setting so long tags don’t run together.

    tidyform timeline template

    Powerpoint Templates

    A number of Powerpoint timeline templates utilise “SMART ART”, this one came from 
    The output is a little more flexible, but doesn’t build the chart automatically. This sort of chart displays the span of a time period more effectively than the previous example, but they could equally be tweaked to produce similar output.

    powerpoint timeline template

    Keynote templates

    Keynote is pretty fantastic tool for laying out elements in an appealing way. I’ve always found the guides which allow centralised alignment really useful, and of course the export options are pretty comprehensive.

    James Welch offers a keynote template which looks good, and is easy to edit.

    Keynote  timeline template


    What becomes apparent in creating these timelines is that having a good set of data upon which to build is invaluable.  Next step is to have a look at whether the information presented this way is any more clear for students.

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