Creating multimedia resources with Powtoon

Example of Powtoons project page

The Academic Learning Support team has collaborated with the Multimedia team to produce a series of short animations in which City students provide study skills tips to their fellows. This post outlines the process for those who might be interested in doing similar projects.

The aim was to produce an engaging way of communicating study skills tips to students. We interviewed current City students to find out what advice they thought would be most useful to their colleagues.

Different animation techniques were investigated. Powtoon was chosen because it is a relatively quick and effective piece of software that could be used online, which also allowed us to work simultaneously on the project in different locations.

The animations were created using the following process:

  1. Interviewed students – audio recording was used rather than video. Initially, this was decided because the aim was to produce an animation. It also was preferred because it made the interviewee less self-conscious.
  2. Transcribed the interviews and chose sections to go into the script.
  3. Scripting – put the chosen quotes into a logical order.
  4. Storyboarding – draw ideas about what you want the animation to look like. Decided to use a photo story style to help situate the animations at City, University of London.
  5. Selected photos – using the City photo asset bank.
  6. Edited the audio – using Audacity (free audio editing software), the recordings were edited into chunks that could be imported into Powtoon. This was important because there is a 20 second limit to the length of clips.
  7. Set up the clips on Powtoon – import the audio; import photos; set up the theme; synchronise the visuals with the audio.
  8. Presented first draft to an audience to get feedback. This was very helpful in terms of getting advice about ways to improve the animations. As a result, we added the final summary slides.
  9. Finalised the animations – adjust the audio.

As a sample, click below to see one of the animations; the other animations can be found at City’s Mediaspace (City log in required) or alternatively, on the Learning Success Moodle page:

The animations were used as part of the induction presentations by Learning Success during welcome week. The feedback from both students and staff has been positive – ranging from “That’s so cute!” to “I really thought that the advice about taking breaks was useful.”

Do you have any material that you think that would benefit from being animated? Would you like to learn more about how to use Powtoon? If so, contact –


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2 thoughts on “Creating multimedia resources with Powtoon

  1. Great videos Dan! You might want to send emails to each school programme lead so they know about these resources. Incidentally the moodle videos are not so easy to find. i am also wondering whether each school librarian ought to know so that they might also help promote in the right channels. Finally we in the ed tech team can also help promote through our newsletters.

    1. Hi Rae, thanks for the feedback. Yes, those are good ideas. I’ve noticed also when I’ve been working with students that the videos do not always display on their pages. I’ll have to work out what that glitch is.

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