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Although VoiceThread is not part of Teaching & Learning Services' supported technologies, the TLS Academic Technology group has collaborated with several RIT faculty to explore the tool for instructional purposes.  The following resources have been compiled for both faculty and student support during this process. 


Video Tutorials and Documentation (For Students and Instructors)

  What is a Voicethread Anyway? (Instructor & Students)
 Adding Students to Your VT License (Instructor)

 Adding Members to a Group (Instructor)

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 Comment Moderations (Instructor)
 Creating Your Own Account

 

 Joining a Group for the First Time (Students)
 How to Access Your Group (Instructor & Students)

 

 How to Access an Existing VoiceThread (Students)

 

 How to Comment on a Voicethread (Instructor & Students)
 How to Caption Video/Audio Comments (Instructor & Students)

 How to Post Your Own Slide (Students)

 Adding VT Credits to Your License (Instructor)

 

 For more information...

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Lessons Learned (For Instructors):

 What’s the best method for student access to an Instructor license?

The best method for managing a Single Instructor License is to have students create their own, free accounts, first, and then send them an invitation to join the instructor license.  With a single instructor license, the instructor is given 50 credits in order to create 50 new student accounts within that license. Once all the credits are used up, however, additional credits can  be purchased. One benefit of inviting students into your license (or creating the accounts with the credits) is that students then are promoted to a 'Basic Account' which enables them to create a maximum of 50 of their own VoiceThreads as opposed to just commenting or editing ones that you've created.

If you don't anticipate students creating any of their own VoiceThreads or more than 5 of their own VoiceThreads, consider just inviting their free account to join a group instead of inviting them to join your license.  Instead of creating the accounts for students, you can send students a group 'sign-up' link.  From here they can either sign up with an existing account or create one while also accepting your invitation to join the group.

 Will 50 basic account credits be added with each license renewal?

No. Once a Single Instructor license is renewed, the original 50 that were created with the initial purchases of that particular account/license remains the same. However, basic account credits can be re-cycled by removing (Not deleting!) students from the license. This will downgrade their accounts from basic to free. If they had created their own VoiceThreads within the instructor license, they will still retain access to the ones they created and others that were shared with them. Before removing a student account from the license, the instructor might send an email to that students asking if the student can set their VoiceThread to allow copying should the instructor want to keep a record of VoiceThreads that were created by students. NOTE: When editing a VoiceThread, the "Playback Options" dropdown menu allows users to edit the playback settings, which include  allowing the ability to copy). Or, the instructor can also subscribe to that student's VoiceThreads as another way to retain access to those VoiceThreads.

 Can content and comments in a Voicethread be captioned?

Yes. Both video and audio comments can be captioned along with any video or audio content that is uploaded. There is no built-in captioning mechanism but a caption file can be uploaded to the corresponding video or audio within the VoiceThread. However, a third-party caption creator is needed. Some examples of how to go about captioning video or audio comments and content are listed below:

  1. Create the video or audio comment or content first with in Camtasia  and caption through Camtasia. Then, export the caption file (.srt) from Camtasia* and upload into VoiceThread.
  2. If the video or audio comment or content has already been created within VoiceThread, open up the VoiceThread and play each comment/content while simultaneously transcribing them with a tool like Aegisub**.
  3. Screen capture the existing VT video or audio comments using Camtasia, then caption in Camtasia to create the .srt file for upload into VoiceThread.
  4. Create the video file in YouTube and use the automatic captions. Before exporting the .srt file from YouTube however, correct the auto-captions to insure they are accurate.  Tthen download the .srt file from YouTube and upload into VoiceThread
  5. Upload the video file you create/publish from Camtasia to YouTube in order for auto-captions to be generated. Then, correct the autocaptions and export the resulting .srt file for upload into VoiceThread.
  6. Upload or create a video in YouTube and then caption this using Amara.
*When creating a caption file within Camtasia, first open the resulting .srt into a text editor and re-save. Then, the .srt file can be uploaded successfully into VoiceThread. Presumably Camtasia adds something to the .srt file called a BOM (byte order mark).  This is not needed as the type of code that an srt file is made up of is UTF-8. When VoiceThread sees that the file has a BOM it thinks that it is different than a UTF-8 file, so it disallows it. Resaving within the text editor simply removes the BOM.  Once the BOM is removed then VoiceThread recognizes the file for what it really is, a UTF-8 file.
**When using Aegisub to create the caption file, upon export of the file as an .srt, change the "Encode:" setting to "English-US( ASCII)"
 How can I share my voicethreads through myCourses?

When using either a free account or a single instructor license account, options for posting a VoiceThread within myCourses are:

  • Share via a URL provided by VoiceThread. To do this, first, obtain the link of your VoiceThread. Then, create a URL link via Content
  • Create a customized widget or navigation bar that links students to the general http://voicethread.com site. NOTE: When using this method, it is best to organize student accounts by “Groups” within VoiceThread so that when logged in, they can access your course’s threads easily from their VoiceThread Home menu.
NOTE: Users will still need to login to VoiceThread when clicking on the thread or link that has been posted within myCourses.
 Are there any downloads or add-ins required to use Voicethread?

For the end-user, there are no downloads required in order to use VoiceThread, however, the latest version of Adobe Flash Player is recommended. In addition, the following network requirements are provided.

 Can I export Voicethreads as files?

Yes. The latest version of VoiceThread does not have this ability but you can link over to the previous version in order to purchase credits and do an export. 'Export credits' are required in order to do this. VoiceThreads can be exported a .mov or .mp4 files. For site-licenses, the institute/license holder can determine which option for enabling this export feature (automatic or manual). Once export credits in a site license have been used up, additional credits can be purchased in bulk.

 What other schools are using Voicethread?
Universities such as Penn State, State University of Missouri, Galludent University, and many others have been uing Voicethread as an instructional tool.  The VoiceThread4Education site also provides a number of examples from other colleges and universities.
 How have faculty at RIT used Voicethread?

RIT faculty have used VoiceThread to facilitate a number of online, instructional activities such as critiques on visual concepts, ASL skill practice and assessment, multimedia student presentations, and online discussions.

 How else could Voicethread be used in a course?

Asynchronous and out-of-class learning activities such as presentations, demonstrations, faculty feedback on assignments, online tutoring, language instruction, project collaboration,  reflection assignments, debates, and critiques are some of the ways VoiceThread has been used in online and face-to-face learning environments.

 What's the difference between VoiceThread and myCourses discussions?

With online discussion in myCourses, for example, students and the instrutcor can post text-based responses using an HTML editor, which allows them to format their post in a number of ways, including, embedding a video, hyperlinking, and changing font formatting and styles. myCourses discussion also allows for a "multi-level' threading of discussion (i.e., a reply to a reply to a reply). In VoiceThread, a comment can be in either the form of basic text, a video, or an audio file. In addition, comments can have threaded responses only one-level down (i.e. a reply to reply). VT users may also do a 'direct reply' to another person's comment so that their comment will be placed directly below the comment of the person they are responding to and private replies are also enabled.

 What kind of support and resources does Voicethread provide on their site?

There are several resources that VoiceThread provides online for learning about the features, troubleshooting problems, and exploring best practices from other users:

 Does VoiceThread comply with FERPA?

From http://docs.voicethread.com/privacy-and-security/privacy-faq/does-voicethread-comply-with-ferpa/:

VoiceThread is compliant with FERPA and helps institutions comply with FERPA by providing the following through it’s Ed.VoiceThread and Higher Ed Licenses:

    • Default-to-private policy for all VoiceThreads.
    • Default transparency settings that allow only educators within a school district to see the full names of student commenters.
    • Requiring only directory information in order to provision user accounts.
    • Enabling institutions, at no charge, to inspect or audit our services to assure themselves that all information is used only for the purposes of enabling faculty to use the platform successfully.

 

 Can Voicethread be integrated with an LMS?

VoiceThread provides a higher ed site license options for universities and LMS integration with several systems, including Desire2Lear (i.e., myCourses)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accessibility & Community Resources

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Other University Resources for VoiceThread:

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VT User Community Resources

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