Portable units allow students to practice for presentations

Rebecca Moidel

Students can hold dress rehearsals in the University Library – for PowerPoint presentations.

The library’s PALS portable presentation units include a laptop, projector and screen. The laptops allow students to work with Microsoft PowerPoint, Real Player and other Microsoft Office applications.

The Audio Visual Services customer service counter, located on the third floor of the library, has two units available to students, staff and faculty.

Library associate Penny Englehart said in order to check out the PALS presentation units, students must bring a Kent State ID and preferably a driver’s license.

Each PALS presentation unit includes step-by-step directions that explain simple set-up procedures and how to use the equipment. All extension cords and cables are enclosed in the case and are color coded to prevent mistakes.

Mary Lee Jensen, head of Instructional Services, said the PALS presentation unit is a great opportunity for students to get together in groups to practice their projects before presenting in class.

“This is a need that keeps getting expressed by students working on group presentations,” she said. “The main purpose is getting together to see what their project looks like as a final presentation.”

Students are given a three-hour time frame to use the equipment in group discussion rooms located on the first and second floors. The fourth and sixth floors are also designated group study floors. The PALS presentation units must be kept inside the library at all times.

“It’s a challenge because the group rooms fill up fast,” she said. “There aren’t enough dedicated rooms for groups to practice. Students are intimidated to talk on the open floors.”

Jensen said a long-term goal for the library is to provide projection rooms specifically geared toward the PALS presentation units.

Internet and network access has been disabled from both laptop units. Englehart said if presentations need to include something from the Web, students should bring their own laptops to transfer information.

Because only two units are available, students can call Audio Visual Services to reserve them. Englehart said it’s best to come early to pick up the PALS presentation units so any questions can be answered. It’s possible to arrange to use similar equipment for presentations if classrooms do not have any tools available.

“For those who want to be prepared, we have the tools,” Englehart said. “It’s a nice way to relieve stress and make sure everything is working correctly.”

Jensen said students should bring in their presentations on either a portable jump drive or a CD to best connect to the PALS presentation units. Once presentations are connected, students will be able to pull slides together, practice and be well prepared.

“Our overall interest is giving students the opportunity to come together in the library,” Jensen said. “We strive to support different types of learning, and although this is just practice, it’s a great opportunity.”

Contact library and media services reporter Rebecca Moidel at [email protected].