VoiceThread FAQ

VoiceThread logo

VoiceThread is a web 2.0 tool that allows you to humanize interactions in an online environment. VoiceThread transforms stale, text-based discussions by infusing your content and conversations with human presence, just as if students were all sitting in the classroom together, but without scheduling a specific time to meet.

VoiceThread is a powerful tool that changes the way students learn and educators teach. VoiceThread:

  • Provides "untethered," on-demand participation for students and educators
  • Builds a stronger sense of community within classes
  • Removes logistical barriers of time and place from online learning environments
  • Offers accessible means of participation for anyone
  • Enhances understanding of visual concepts via multi-modal commentary with annotation

Educators have found many uses for VoiceThread, including:

  • Discussions
  • Presentations
  • Portfolios
  • Office Hours
  • Interactive Lectures
  • Flipped Classrooms
  • Group Collaborations
  • Video Assessment and Review
  • Asynchronous Review Sessions
  • Language Courses
  • Sign Language Courses

Penn State created this
VoiceThread - Simply Speaking video [2:24]
for their faculty.
The video has a very good explanation of VoiceThread.

FAQs

How do I setup a VoiceThread assignment in my course?

There are four simple steps to setup and use VoiceThread in your Blackboard course. You can watch this short video which explains the steps to setup a VoiceThread assignment

VoiceThread in Bb

or you can follow these steps:

  1. Adding VoiceThread to your course
  2. Setting up your VoiceThread link
  3. Waiting for students to submit work
    (if you’ve created a graded assignment)
  4. Grading student work
    (if you’ve created a graded assignment)

Can I edit my VT assignment link in Blackboard?

Care should be taken when creating the VT assignment link in Blackboard. It is not possible to edit a link after it has been configured. What the instructor would need to do is delete the existing link, and then create a new link that points to the tool he or she would like to use for the assignment (Course View, VT Home, or Individual VoiceThread). The instructor can then enter the new description and set the number of comments students will need to record for the assignment.

What are the four VoiceThread assignment options?

After you have added VoiceThread to your course, you’ll need to decide what you want students to see when they click on that link. There are four VT assignment options. They are:

  • Course View - Display the collection of VoiceThreads that have been shared with your course. Use this option when you want students to find and comment on each other’s work or if you want to allow students to review all course materials prior to an exam.
  • Individual VT - Display any single VoiceThread that you have created. This option is the best way to create a VoiceThread discussion board or lecture. Students will not need to look through a collection of VoiceThreads to find the correct one; they will be taken straight to it.
  • VT Home - Display all of a student’s VoiceThread content in a single view. This includes all VoiceThreads and all courses that belong to them. This option is useful if you want to create a simple portal into VoiceThread without directing students to any specific content.
  • Assignment Builder – Use this option to 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.

More information can be found at the Setting up your VoiceThread link.

Note: You must use the Assignment Builder option if you want your VoiceThread assignment to be integrated with the Grade Center.

Where can I get help on using VoiceThread features?

There are a number of excellent VoiceThread tutorials explaining how to use VoiceThread features (e.g., creating, commenting, sharing, doodling, comment moderation). Additionally, you can find information on private replies, direct replies, and threaded commenting at these links.

What's included in our Blackboard integration?

Voicethread is currently available at no cost to Xavier faculty and students. With Xavier's site license, all Xavier faculty have a pro account and each faculty member can create an unlimited number of VoiceThreads. Students have basic accounts and can create 50 VoiceThreads. More features available with our site license can be found at this VoiceThread's "What's included?" link.

How do students submit VoiceThread assignments?

Here is a link to the assignment submission guide for students.

Do I have to enter grades for VT graded assignments on a percentage scale?

In order for grades to calculate properly, you must enter grades as a percentage of the total points. Grades for VT graded assignments have to be entered on a percentage scale of 0-100. For example, you have a VT assignment that is worth 5 total points. A student earned 4 points for the assignment. In order for the grade to calculate correctly, in the Grade on a percentage scale box for the student you have to enter "80"
(4 / 5 = .80 X 100 = 80).

What are some better practices for using VoiceThread?

Penn State developed some best practices for using VoiceThread that you may find helpful.

Where can I find tips for incorporating VoiceThread in my courses?

Here are some tips from University of Alaska Anchorage on using VoiceThread to increase community and engagement in your courses.

Where can I find examples of how educators are using VoiceThread in teaching and learning?

You can find some use cases at Penn State that showcase how professors are using VoiceThread as well as some examples in VoiceThread's Digital Library. Additionally, you can view the Photographs That Changed the World and Visual Thinking VoiceThreads.

Where can I find VoiceThread accessibility information?

Here is a link to the VoiceThread accessibility information.

Where can I find strategies for creating accessible VoiceThread assignments?

Here is a link to strategies for creating accessible VoiceThread assignments from Penn State.

What are the VoiceThread system requirements?

VoiceThread is a cloud application, so there is no software to install. The only system requirement is an up-to-date version of Adobe Flash Player. VoiceThread will work in any modern web browser and on almost any internet connection.

Is VoiceThread available for mobile devices?

A VoiceThread app is available for your iOS or Android mobile device. Here is a link where you can get more information about VoiceThread for mobile devices.

Troubleshooting tips

Known issues specific to Blackboard
Error message: “Your signature for authentication is invalid.”
Can’t see student submission for grading
Don’t have the option to enable grading for your VoiceThread link
You’re not automatically signed in to VoiceThread when you click on a VT link
When you click on a VT link, you see a page titled “VoiceThread Account Verification.”