PROS / In the format of an online university, you can take your class wherever you go.
CONS / Only one version of PowerPoint is included in each course.
VERDICT / Universal Class allows you to learn at your own pace, but also with the help of an instructor.
Universal Class has a PowerPoint tutorial with the distinct look and feel of an online university. Though it is not an accredited online college, once you sign up and enroll, you're on your way to mastering subjects like Microsoft PowerPoint and even earning continuing education units, or CEUs. Universal Class is an authorized provider for the International Association for Continuing Education and Training, or IACET. Membership alone to Universal Class is free, while the costs of courses vary depending on subject and certification.
Site navigation for Universal Class is straightforward, which is important for an online-based course. You can find whatever course you need by searching for keywords or course numbers. For each course, you can request additional information with the click of a button.
Universal Class courses last six months, so you can complete lessons at your own pace within that timeframe. However, to help keep you on track, a qualified trainer monitors your progress. Sometimes all you need is that extra boost of motivation from an outside source, especially when you are completing everything online and independently.
Instead of interactive project exercises, Universal Class offers small quizzes at the end of every lesson of the tutorial. Though the files used in the tutorial are not available for your direct use, the instructors recommend practicing with PowerPoint as you progress through the course for the best results.
To get a look and feel of Universal Class tutorials, they offer a free course entitled How to Take an Online Course at Universal Class. While this is not a PowerPoint-specific sample, it offers valuable insights to the functions of Universal Class courses as a whole. This demonstration eases the learning curve of working with an unknown interface so you can focus instead on the lesson's concepts.
Universal Class tutorials do not come with closed captioning. However, all video lessons are available in either read-only or printable form in the lesson, complete with pictures and diagrams.
Overall, the Universal Class website and tutorials appear attractive and appealing. The atmosphere is proactive for learning and interacting with other online students. The videos that accompany lessons are polished and engaging in terms of production. However, they are also of poor visual quality and rather pixilated. Once you complete a lesson assignment, animations and sound effects greet you in order to convey goals successfully met. This can be either encouraging or trivial and annoying, depending on your preference.
The Universal Class website is organized in a way to effectively simplify the truckload of information it offers. You can browse by area of study or by category of information, from course details to customer support options.
Universal Class instructors use a blend of formal and relaxed language in both written material and video tutorials. The instructor for the PowerPoint 2010 course is on the Universal Class staff, and the course has been revamped to prove a contender in the multimedia presentation education front.
Universal Class aims their courses at beginner, intermediate and advanced users. The tutorial assumes that even beginners are familiar with basic computer functions and terms.
Each version of PowerPoint, from 2003 to 2010, is covered by a Universal Class course. However, they are each individual courses and you have to register for them separately. This can be a great benefit if you only need training for, say, the latest 2010 version and you don't want to waste time with outdated concepts. However, we wish there was a class that covered at least basic concepts for versions 2003, 2007 and 2010.
Universal Class is prompt and attentive in their customer help and support. They respond to emails within a day, and representatives are intelligent and quick to help. You can contact them via telephone or one of several email addresses and contact forms. They have also answered 33 FAQs, which you can easily view with a link from the homepage.
The areas covered by Universal Class are definitely thorough by any learning standard, and the support service is prompt. Unfortunately, you are cut off from learning if you are cut off from an internet connection, and if you rely on closed captioning in your videos, you are out of luck. Despite these downfalls, this tutorial is a decent resource for learning PowerPoint.