Tech to make the most of #NCLA17: Google Slides Q&A

Today’s guest author is Samantha Harlow, Online Learning Librarian at UNCG Libraries and Chair of NCLA’s newest section, the Distance Learning Section!

When presenting at conferences, engaging audience members through active learning and participation is key! At the 2017 NCLA conference, there are many presentations with co-presenters, as well as presenters using slide shows (PowerPoint, Google Slides, etc) to serve as visual aids. It can be challenging to engage audience members with two or more presenters, while also running a slide show. This is where Google Slides Q&A can help!

Google Slides Q&A is a way for “presenters to start a live Q&A session with an audience during a presentation with Google Slides. You can present questions at any time, and people can ask questions from any device.” Taken from “Accept and present audience questions.”

The way it works is that your presentation’s audience members can submit questions digitally to a speaker throughout a presentation. If you are co-presenting, one of you can speak while another monitors the questions coming in through Q&A. If you are solo presenting, be sure to look at the questions or comments at the end of your presentation.

Here’s how Google Slides Q&A works:
-Open up your Google Slides presentation and go to the Present button at the top. Click the arrow next to the Present button to go to Presenter View.
-You will be prompted to “start new” audience Q&A. Click that button.

pasted image 0
-You will then see the URL that your audience members can go to ask questions. Note that if you work at a Google for Education (GAFE) library or business you will need to turn the “Accepting questions from ____” to “Anyone” in order for all conference audience members to participate:

pasted image 0 (1)

Your audience members will then see the URL throughout your presentation, at the top of all of your Google Slides:

pasted image 0 (2)

Once audience members go to the Q&A URL on your Google Slides presentation, they will be able to participate through asking a question on their device:

pasted image 0 (3)

When you’re done or throughout your presentation, you can go to the Q&A screen at anytime, to monitor or present a question. You will find the Q&A icon at the bottom of your slides:

pasted image 0 (4)

You can choose to “present” a question or comment, which means it will show up in your slideshow:

Presenter View:

pasted image 0 (5)

Google Slide View:

pasted image 0 (6)

Some notes about Google Slides Q&A:
-It’s always good to check your Q&A URL on a browser in which you are not logged into your Google Account to make sure it will work for all audience members.
-Like all presentation techniques at a conference, practicing helps work out kinks of Google Slides Q&A, as well as make you feel more prepared for how the process will run.
-Audience members can ask questions anonymously, so if you have fear of audience members being inappropriate, please keep this in mind.
-This does work on mobile devices, but if people in the audience do not have a device, it will also be good to accept questions verbally at the end of the presentation.
-The Q&A questions or comments will stay in your Google Account after you finish the slide show for a couple of days, but there is no export option of questions and comments. If you want to keep the questions or comments from your session, you will need to copy and paste them into another document or take a screenshot.

More tutorials:
Video: how to use the Q&A feature in Google Slides
Google Tutorials: Accept and present audience questions

This post is part of a short series here on the TNT blog: Tech to make the most of the NCLA 2017 Biennial Conference. You’ll hear from TNT Board Members as well as guest authors about tech you can use as a conference presenter and participant to maximize your experience at #NCLA17. If you have an idea you’d like to contribute, email Jenny Dale at jedale2[at]uncg[dot]edu!

New series: Tech to make the most of the NCLA 2017 Biennial Conference!

Good morning, loyal readers! Today marks the beginning of a new short blog series here on the TNT Blog: Tech to make the most of the NCLA 2017 Biennial Conference. You’ll hear from TNT Board Members as well as guest authors about tech you can use as a conference presenter and participant to maximize your experience at #NCLA17. Speaking of #NCLA17, registration is open at We hope to see you there!

Free Friday: Creating visual diagrams with LucidChart

Lucidchart is a web-based diagramming software, compatible with most web browsers (Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.) that allows users to collaborate in real-time to create flow charts, organizational charts, mind maps, floor plans, Venn diagrams and many other diagram types.

flow_chart       floor_plans        org_chart

venn_diagram       mind_map

For all educational users (both K-12 and higher education), Lucidchart provides free premium accounts. Students and faculty can sign up individually for accounts with their .edu email address. 

Users are able to create documents from a template or create custom diagrams from scratch.  To begin, users just need to click on the “+ document” button:


In order to draw objects and lines; the user just needs to “select a shape” from the shape toolbox and drag it onto the page.  To draw a line, “click on the line connection of the shape” and drag the line to another shape.

To format a line, select a line and choose a line formatting option, such as line type, style and arrow type.


There is also an option to insert an image, if you would like.

LucidChart also lets you import (to Visio, Gliffy, OmniGraffley, adn AWS files) and export your diagrams easily as PDF, PNG, JPEG, VDX, or SVG files. Alternatively, you can also share files and folders for real-time collaboration.

Even if I came across this tool by accident, I’m so glad that I did – as it has come in handy for several projects.  I’ve used LucidChart to create flow charts when planning online tutorials with multiple modules.  As it allows you to lay out the module step-by-step with goals, objectives, and activities. Additionally, I imagine that the flow chart would be useful in describing the project to other team members, such as programmers should you need their assistance in building the online module.  Next, I plan to use LucidChart to create a Gnatt chart to visually diagram a project timeline.

Free Friday: Canva: Online Graphic Design Platform

If you find yourself needing to create a visually appealing presentation, social media graphic, or infographic; try using Canva.  It is a free online platform that offers a wide assortment of design tools and options, as well as premium options for paying customers.

To get started, you just need to create an account using your email account.  You also have the option to log-in with your Facebook or Google Plus account; if you don’t want to create a new account.


Once you are logged in – Canva offers many (free & fee-based) templates for you to canva_project_typesget started with your project.  Just select your project type: presentation, infographic, social media, banner, resume, and more. Canva provides the layout, and you just use the drag & drop feature to add images, shapes, text, etc. or even upload your own images/photos to customize the graphic to fit your marketing needs.


Canva also includes photo editing features, as well as other cool tools:

  • Photo straightener: Keep your photos in line with our photo straightener tool
  • Image cropper: Crop your photos for great framing and masterful composition
  • Add text to photos: Create a narrative for any photo
  •  Speech bubble maker: Give your photos a voice with speech bubbles!
  • Give your photos a delicate fade with our transparency tool
  • Photo enhancer: Enhance your photos to save any “off” shots
  • Photo blur: Add artistry to your images with the blur slider
  • Photo vignette: Grant your pictures vintage flair with our photo vignette tool
  • Design grids: Looking for layout inspiration? Try a design grid
  • Free icons: Complement your designs with the crisp lines of our icons
  • Photo frames: Add photo frames to adorn your memories
  • Web wireframe: Begin with the basics and create a web wireframe
  • Stickers: Amp up your images with some surprise stickers
  • Badges: Build a better badge with Canva
  • Add texture: Give your designs texture and feeling from our image library

To learn more about these features, visit their web site:

I like this tool, as it allows you to create professional looking graphics, without any prior experience.  Once you have completed your design project, you will have the option to save, email, or upload your graphic to your web site.  Canva also has a shared option, which allows you to be able to collaboratively work projects with your team members.

Free Friday: GIMP.COM: The Free and Open Source Image Editor

If you find yourself in the position of needing god quality screen shots for library handouts and tutorials, this is a great tool.

Like most image editing tools, there are a wide array of functions available for the more advanced user, but I like this tool because it isn’t intimidating to the beginner—they even have a set of tutorials just for beginners on their website:


I also like this tool because it produces some very professional results. It also allows you to focus in on a specific detail on a screen so that you can focus your tutorial on individual steps more easily.

So, to give you a sense of how easy this is to use, I’ll review the steps I use to manipulate screen shots for use in tutorial-type handouts.

First, download the program from the website. Once the program is downloaded, open it up.

On your computer, go to the page you need and click Ctrl-Print Screen to get the screen shot (I’m using a Windows PC and I’ll use the Gimp program for my example).

Once there, open the Gimp program and choose File, Create, From Clipboard. A new window opens with the screen shot.


Next, if the Toolbox column is open click the Rectangle Select option, or choose from Tools, Selection Tools in the toolbar at the top of the page.


Click and drag the selection tool over the portion of the page that you want to use. Sometimes using the “zoom” function is useful in this step (From toolbar choose View, Zoom, 200%). If you aren’t happy with what you selected, click away from that part of the page and try again.

Once you’re happy choose Image from the top toolbar and click Crop to Selection.

gimp-4       gimp-5

Then you can choose to copy the image into your document (File, Copy, Paste) or you can save it for later use (File, Save As). If you save it, I suggest you save it as a .jpeg file (more compatible with websites and social media). At the bottom of the File, Save As box, click the “+” beside Select File Type (By Extension), choose JPEG image from the list, then click Save. It will ask you to confirm this file type, so just choose Yes.

Once it’s saved, go up to File, then Copy and follow the usual steps for copying an image into a document.

That’s all there is to it. If you want to try out the more advanced features, there are plenty of them. I believe you will find this to be a very useful tool for producing thorough, readable, and very professional handouts.

-Julie Raynor, Vice-Chair, TNT Roundtable

Come back Friday, September 16 for our next installment of Free Fridays!

Free Friday: Infographic Design is for Everyone


In this installment of Free Fridays, let’s take a look at Piktochart.  This tool makes it easy to quickly design professional looking banners, reports, infographics, and presentations.

Piktochart offers hundreds of templates that can be customizable with lots of icons, shapes, and designs that can be used.  The tool also allows you to change colors and fonts to match your theme.  So, anyone even those without a graphic design background will be able to create visually appealing content.

There are several versions of Piktochart – one at no cost and several that are fee-based. The free account does come with some limitations such as fewer templates and the Piktocchart logo at the bottom of all your creations. Piktochart also offers a purchase option for those that need to upgrade to the pro version for students and professionals.

While Piktochart is generally used as an infographic tool; however you can also use the tool to create dynamic presentations, providing  an alternative to power point slides and prezi presentations.  The tool is very user-friendly and easy to learn.  Within minutes you can be designing your own infographic and presentation slide using Piktochart.  I’ve often use this tool to create infographics; however just this week I used this tool to create a slide presentation for a student orientation. The audience loved the look of the presentation, and everyone wanted to know what platform I used to create it; as it provided a very different look from the traditional Power Point slides and Prezi presentations.

Some sample infographic templates:

infographic edu


Check out Piktochart — it’ll give you a new perspective to presenting information!


Suvanida Duangudom, Director, TNT RoundTable

Come back next Friday, August 19th for our next installment of Free Fridays!


Free Friday: Messaging Made Easy

Imagine a world with fewer emails flying into your inbox each day — Slack can help with that! Slack is a free (with premium options) instant messaging tool that does so much more.

Slack breaks team messaging into Channels, that can be public or private, and direct messages for one-on-one communication. Each Channel can be focused on a single topic or project. Once that project or topic is no longer relevant, the Channel can be archived. But don’t worry, you still have the ability to search your entire archive using the built-in search functionality which indexes all public messages and files.

Slack interface

Within your messages, you have the ability to blend other tools such as Google Drive, Trello, Jira, and many more. Add in the ability to drag-drop files for sharing and you’re set. And for those who need a little fun during the work day, there are plenty of add-ons like Giphy:

Gif of Giphy

One caveat for the free version of Slack is the limitations put on the number of apps you can integrate and the number of messages that it archives. You can integrate 10 apps in the free version. And it will only archive up to 10,000 of your team’s most recent messages. You are also limited to only 5GB of document storage. It’s not all bad news though!

Slack provides mobile and desktop apps for both Windows and Apple products, so you can be connected to your team 24/7 if you want. If you prefer a nice work/life balance, there are Do Not Disturb options that can be set for specific times for yourself or your entire team.

If you’re not quite convinced that you need Slack in your life or don’t have colleagues willing to take the plunge, you can try out some fun library-related channels focused on user experience in libraries or that old library favorite, LibGuides.

Sarah Arnold, Director, TNT RoundTable

Come back next Friday, August 12th for our next installment of Free Fridays!

Free Friday: Time to Get Organized!

For this installment of Free Friday, we want to highlight one of the tools in our members only list, a personal organization tool called Cozi.

Cozi is a flexible tool that you can access for free as an app and website. It helps you manage your busy life with a shared calendar, shopping lists, to do lists and more–just as the end of summer/back-to-school season is in sight!

cozi 1

It allows you to keep track of everything from school schedules and sports activities to grocery lists, meals and chores — all in one place the whole family can access anytime, anywhere.

The plusses: it is a tool that the whole family can share and you can color code the calendar for each family member. You also can link calendars that you already use right to it (Google, Outlook, even Facebook)! It is very mobile-friendly with an app that is compatible with most devices.

When you go to the website, you can access some other cool features. They have a wealth of prepared lists that you can use for a wide variety of tasks, from packing to grocery shopping–they even have cleaning tips! There is also a section for Freebies and Downloads that offers free printable calendars.

cozi 2

Even though the free version is sufficient for most things, there is also the option to sign up for Cozi Gold at a low cost of $19.99 per year that is ad-free and offers more in-depth features.

So, if you’ve been looking for something to help keep yourself and your family organized, now is the time to try out Cozi!

Also, we want to hear from you! We’ve posted a poll on our Wiggio page asking for input on webinar topics for this fall. So, when you get a chance, go over to and let us know what you’d like to see. It will take less than a minute to do and it will help us plan upcoming presentation on topics that YOU want. We’d love to hear from you by August 5th!

Julie Raynor, Vice-Chair, TNT RoundTable

Come back next Friday, August 3rd for our next installment of Free Fridays!

Advocating for Usability Webinar

We kicked off our 2015-2017 biennium webinar series with a great one on usability and user experience. Thanks to Daniel Pshock & Sarah Arnold of UNC Chapel Hill for sharing their wisdom!

You can find the recording online here.

Their slides are up on TNT’s slideshare:

Keep checking back for announcements on our next webinar!