Enhance your PowerPoint presentations with Office Mix

office-mixThis week we are going to tell you about Office Mix – the much publicised add-on from Microsoft.

Office Mix is a free add-on for Microsoft PowerPoint that enables you to transform your slideshows into interactive presentations.

The additional features that Office Mix brings to PowerPoint allow for interactive elements such as quizzes and polls to be added, creating a far more engaging presentation within a tool that many people are already very familiar with. You can use Office Mix to create a new presentation or adapt existing presentations that you already have saved.

In addition to the existing functions of PowerPoint, Office Mix features include:

  • Slide recording – add a recording of yourself, using a webcam or audio, to narrate your slides
  • Screen annotation – draw on top of your slides as you record to highlight specific content or to draw diagrams or equations
  • Lab Apps for Office – choose from a range of apps that can be embedded into a slide, these include interactive quizzes and polls, a web viewer allowing you to insert fully interactive web pages into your slides, as well as apps that include content from Khan Academy and GeoGebra
  • Screen recording – create a recording of your computer screen and insert it into a slide
  • Screenshot – capture a picture of your computer screen to insert into your slide

These ‘Mixes’ can then be uploaded to the Office Mix website with various privacy settings enabling you to choose who can view your ‘Mix’. You will then be provided with a link to your presentation which can be sent to your students by email or added to your Study Direct (VLE) site. Your Mixes can also be exported as videos in order to make them available offline. There is a range of ‘Mixes’ available to view in the Office Mix Gallery including Office Mix tutorials.

Office Mix is possibly the ideal tool to start flipping your classroom, the idea of reversing or flipping the traditional way in which class time is used and content is delivered. As a free tool, Office Mix makes use of many skills that you will already have if you are familiar with Microsoft PowerPoint through its easy integration with this commonly used tool. This integration with PowerPoint also allows you to make use of your existing presentations and resources, cutting down on the time spent creating new content. Furthermore, the activity reports available for each ‘Mix’ allow you to track individuals’ progress and engagement, enabling you to identify possible problems with content, delivery or understanding.

Office Mix is free and can be downloaded from mix.office.com onto your personal computer if you are running Office 2013 and is rumored to be included in the next version of Microsoft Office. The ‘Mixes’ that you create can be viewed on any device with a web browser.

Office Mix

Introductory Mix by Jeannette Gatlin, Office Mix Sn. UX Designer (Click image to view)

Office Mix is a great tool that allows you to use your existing knowledge and familiarity with Microsoft PowerPoint to create engaging and interactive online lessons, great for flipping the classroom.

Alternatives to Office Mix include:

Watch this Introduction Mix to get you started on your own Mix. If you would like any help with this tool please contact your school’s Learning Technologist.

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Posted in Technology Enhanced Learning

Learn about Learning Technology at Sussex

Learning and sharing information with others is an effective way to contribute and further personal and collective knowledge in any given field of study.

Last week the Sussex TEL blog looked at various ways of learning about learning technology, with a focus on various groups and channels outside of the university. The following blog post will look at opportunities which exist at the University of Sussex where staff can get involved in learning and sharing ideas on campus for technology enhanced learning.

Show and TEL: New event!

Come and share, learn and develop ideas to shape the future of teaching at Sussex. The first ‘Show and TEL’ event is set to take place on 27th October and will see a new collaborative forum for colleagues across the university who have an interest learning technology to network and disseminate good practice.

For the first event, we have invited a host of University of Sussex teaching staff from across different disciplines to present a series of lightning talks about their experiences using technology to enhance learning and enrich the student experience.

This event will take place once a term, please see the Show and TEL webpage on the TEL website if you would like to find out more information or book a place to attend.

Seminar Series

The ‘Reshaping Teaching with Technology’ seminar series is now in its third year and sees researchers and practitioners from across the higher education sector come to Sussex to present on their work with a technology enhanced learning theme. The programme is set to be relaunched this week as we invite Dr. Jane Secker, Copyright and Digital Literacy Advisor at London School of Economics (LSE) to Sussex.

Jane’s talk, ‘Developing digitally literate staff and students: experiences from LSE’, will reflect on 10 years of running a digital literacy programme at LSE, including the evolving nature of the programme, challenges, lessons learnt and the impact of the programme.  

Jane will also share insights from LSE’s Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy programme. The second installment in this year’s programme will take place on 29th November when Keith Smyth (Professor of Pedagogy, University of the Highlands and Islands) and Peter Hartley (Visiting Professor, Edge Hill University) will present a seminar titled “Challenges and opportunities in the post-digital age”.

This is a great opportunity to meet with staff across the university to discuss current themes and listen to talks from some of the most innovative thinkers in the field of technology enhanced learning.

Digital Innovation week

Digital Innovations week will see the Library and Technology Enhanced Learning come together for a third year to present a programme of exciting events condensed into a week for staff and students on the innovations of digital technology.

After the past success of Mobile Technologies week which took place during the past two years; the event has been re-branded to expand the scope to cover all forms of digital innovation. The week is scheduled to take place 28th November – 2nd December. Stayed tuned to the Sussex TEL blog for further news on this week.


Technology Enhanced Learning provide an extensive programme of workshops each term which are free for any member of staff at the University of Sussex to participate in. The programme covers a range of topics from flipped learning, mobile learning, Study Direct, virtual reality in the classroom and more.

The programme evolves each term to keep abreast of the fast paced nature of technology and innovations in teaching practice. Our programme offers a range of continued professional development opportunities for those seeking to learn something new, extend existing knowledge or meet like-minded people with an interest in enhancing teaching practice through technology. See the workshops and courses page on our website for further details.

Teaching with Tech podcast

The University of Sussex ‘Teaching with Tech’ podcast series was recently launched by Tab Betts, Learning Technologist. This series provides an insight into projects, events, thoughts and ideas of learning technologists, teachers, students and educational practitioners at the University of Sussex and further afield. See Tab’s blogpost “Introducing our brand new podcast – Teaching with Tech” for an introduction or check out the ‘Podcast’ page on our blog for the latest episodes.

Anything else?

We’re constantly looking for new ways and ideas to disseminate knowledge and practice of Technology Enhanced Learning at Sussex, you can follow our latest developments by subscribing to our blog (see the ‘subscribe to blog’ box in the top-right corner). If you have any queries, exciting ideas, or would like to get involved then please contact us tel@sussex.ac.uk


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Learning about Learning Technology

learning technology

flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Learning technology is an exciting and fast moving field.

Whether you’re an academic interested in increasing engagement in lectures or a student looking for ways to improve your approach to studying, the development of your digital capabilities will be increasingly instrumental to your success.

Learning Technology

What are learning technologies and how do we learn about them? I was given pause to reflect on this in a recent interview I gave for our new podcast series Teaching with Tech when asked how I came to work in this area. Read more ›

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What’s in your pocket?


Image from Pexels

Today we are pulling out our pockets and looking at our phones and asking, what are the most popular apps that we use in the TEL team?

In alphabetical order, starting with Tab.  Read more ›

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Posted in App review, Technology Enhanced Learning

MusicCircle – creative peer feedback goes digital


flickr photo by betmari shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

Giving and receiving feedback from peers is a great way to learn. After all, professionals do it all the time. Organising this type of activity during a seminar can be difficult, but there are now many online tools for sharing and annotating text. When student’s work is not text-based, however, something else is required.

Dr Chris Kiefer, Lecturer in Music Technology of MusicCircle @luuma

Dr Chris Kiefer, Lecturer in Music Technology @luuma

Chris Kiefer (Media, Film and Music) is using MusicCircle, an online peer learning and peer feedback system that he was involved in developing as part of the EU PRAISE project. For this post, Anne Hole asked Chris about MusicCircle

‘MusicCircle was originally developed for musicians but could equally be applied to many other fields.’

Chris explains that ‘MusicCircle is a peer learning and peer feedback system. With the aim of enabling creative feedback…. It is a venue for people to share their work and provides an environment for constructive peer feedback between students.’

The key to the tool is its ‘social timeline’ which lets the users highlight a section of audio or video and add a comment – this can then be discussed with others. Although you can add brief comments to audio using SoundCloud or discuss YouTube videos, Chris argues that they do not allow for the sort of detailed feedback which will help students to improve their work.

Designed initially for musicians at Goldsmiths College, MusicCircle takes online the regular feedback sessions which encouraged students to provide constructive feedback to each other.

Chris believes that one of the strengths of MusicCircle is that it teaches students to both give and receive creative feedback. It can also ‘increase a sense of community around a course’.

Peer feedback is good for students because when we learn how to constructively give feedback we learn how to use feedback constructively in our own work.

The system has been developed and tested with various groups across the five European universities involved in the project and there is even a version that works with coding.

See the system demonstrated in this YouTube video – 

At Sussex, Chris has begun using the system with music technology students on the ‘History and Practice of Electronic Music’ module. Students ‘make a 1-minute piece each week based on what they have been learning. They can share those pieces with each other – so they can access them not only within their seminar groups but across the cohort’. But Chris emphasises that this is not just an online activity – ‘It provides a mechanism for a session in class where we play each other’s music and discuss  the music’ as well as letting learners ‘access the work out of class and continue the feedback’.

MusicCircle could be useful for anything that involves time-based media that people can give feedback on – videos of student work, interviews, presentations etc.

There has been some good feedback from users and Chris will be developing his use of MusicCircle with his students in 2016-17.

To find out more about the PRAISE project see the Papers, articles & Related Initiatives.

If you would like to discuss possible ways that MusicCircle could be used in your teaching at Sussex please contact Chris Kiefer who will be happy to talk to you.

To discuss other options for using technology to develop peer learning and feedback contact the TEL team tel@sussex.ac.uk.

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Posted in Digital scholarship

Introducing our brand new podcast – Teaching with Tech


flickr photo by Adriano Gasparri shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Looking for creative ideas to engage students? Wondering how to incorporate technology into your teaching? We have a brand new podcast for you!  

The Teaching with Tech Podcast is a podcast produced by the Technology Enhanced Learning department at the University of Sussex.


It can be found here:



Read more ›

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What can you learn? TEL training out now!


flickr photo by “Caveman Chuck” Coker shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

To start the new academic year, Technology Enhanced Learning have revamped our programme of staff development workshops with a brand new list of sessions for the Autumn term.

From ‘Learning by creating with smartphones’ to ‘Augmented reality and virtual reality in the classroom’ this range of workshops aims to provide you with the tools and ideas to help you make the most of technology in your teaching and prepare for the term ahead.

This term’s workshops pick up on themes that we have been hearing about across campus for example the implementation of the flipped learning approach or how to better engage international students. Below are three new workshops that we have picked out to tell you more about: Read more ›

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Doing it digitally: embedding digital skills in the curriculum

digital skills in the curriculum

flickr photo by mrkrndvs shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Whether we talk about digital skills, digital literacy or digital capabilities there is no doubt that students need to develop their use and understanding of digital tools (see Digital Skills for the UK Economy).

Don’t be misled by talk of the ‘digital native’ who by virtue of being born in the internet era has an innate understanding and ability to use technologies.

Just because students own smartphones and use social media to communicate with their friends doesn’t mean that they can use digital tools professionally, critically evaluate them and make informed decisions about online security, identity and digital wellbeing Read more ›

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Posted in Digital scholarship, Technology Enhanced Learning

About our blog

We are the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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