VoiceThread is an online platform that allows you to put digital media such as images, videos, and documents at the center of an asynchronous conversation. VoiceThread allows people to contribute to discussions using a keyboard, microphone, web cam, telephone, or uploaded audio file.
The university has a pilot license of VoiceThread that can be used by anyone who is teaching a course in Blackboard. Through the Blackboard integration, faculty and student accounts are created automatically when you link your course to VoiceThread. Any content created by you or your students can be restricted so that it is only visible to members of the course.
VoiceThread can help students feel a greater sense of being part of a community, be more aware of the faculty role in their learning experience, and engage more actively with instructional content and their peers.
Sample Uses of VoiceThread
- Create opportunities for students to have a discussion that takes place around a digital artifact or series of digital artifacts, such as an image, a video, a piece of text, and so on. You could also do this with a discussion forum, but VoiceThread allows for the media to be at the center of the discussion, and permits audio in addition to text discussion.
- Deliver a recorded online lecture that features slides with audio. Students can ask questions or comment on the content (asynchronously) throughout the presentation, via microphone or text.
- Feature video clips which students comment on. As the videos play, comments that have already been added appear at the appropriate time in the video; that is, if a student comments on something that is said in the video at, say, 2:35, then his or her comment appears at that moment. You and your students can also annotate (draw) over the video as it plays.
- Have students introduce themselves to one another by creating an original VoiceThread with images of themselves or of things or places they connect with.
- Assess student participation and performance using VoiceThread, based on watching a presentation, commenting and discussing, or creating their own original presentation. Grades are automatically passed back to the Blackboard Grade Center.
Using VoiceThread in Blackboard
To incorporate VoiceThread in your Blackboard course, go to a content area (like Content or Assignments) and click Build Content from the toolbar. There are two options for adding VoiceThread:
- VoiceThread - use this option when you are using VoiceThread for content or interaction without any grade associated. For example, you would use this option if you are creating a multimedia tutorial or lecture, or for an ungraded student activity.
- VoiceThread (graded) - use this option when you are using VoiceThread with a grade or points associated. This option will ask for the Points Possible for the activity, and will create a Grade Center column.
Once you have created the link to VoiceThread, click the link to configure it, so that students are directed to the correct presentation or activity. There are four options for the VoiceThread configuration:
- Course View - Display the collection of VoiceThreads that have been shared with your course.
- VT Home - Display all of a student’s VoiceThread content in a single view, including all VoiceThreads and all courses in which they are enrolled.
- Individual VT - Display a single VoiceThread that you have created. When students click on the link, they’ll see just this one VoiceThread.
- Assignment Builder - Create a graded assignment for students to complete. You can require them to create a VoiceThread of their own to submit, to comment on a VoiceThread you’ve created, or simply to watch a VoiceThread start to finish. Start by selecting VoiceThread (graded) in Blackboard if you are going to use the Assignment Builder, so that points are passed back to the Blackboard Grade Center.
Support for VoiceThread
Incompatibility with Microsoft Edge browser
It has been reported that VoiceThread is not compatible with the current Microsoft Edge browser. This browser does not have full support for HTML5, which is the protocol VoiceThread uses. However, according to VoiceThread support, the next version of Edge will be using a completely new architecture that should support VoiceThread and other HTML5 apps as well. At that point, VoiceThread will be usable in Edge. For now, Chrome and Firefox are the best two browsers to use to experience the full VoiceThread toolset.
Some content adapted from VoiceThread, Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo, and is used under a CC-BY-NC license.
Last Updated: 6/28/2019
- Using VoiceThread to Build Student Engagement
- How to Humanize Your Online Class with VoiceThread (free eBook by Michelle Pacansky-Brock)