What is Happening?
On October 15, 2017, Saint Leo University’s site license with VoiceThread will expire, and all university users accessing VoiceThread through the Lions SHARE Courses system will no longer be able to access their university-provided site license VoiceThread accounts.
What are my Options?
Educational tools come and go, but if we maintain our focus on learning activities, we can smoothly transition between tools without reducing the impact of our teaching and learning.
VoiceThread was a tool that gathered learners around a piece of media, such as a slide or picture or document, and allowed them to asynchronously conduct a conversation about that piece of media.
Some instructors leveraged it as a means of enriching conversations or discussions. Other instructors used it to create narrated slideshows. Some instructors had students create their own VoiceThreads as a means of assessment or learning.
First, take a few minutes to think deeply about your usage of VoiceThread. What was your intention for using it? What learning outcome did you want your learners to accomplish by using VoiceThread?
After you’ve discerned the answers to those questions, using the following suggestions for alternatives to using VoiceThread in your teaching.
VoiceThread provided a space that allowed learners to conduct a discussion or conversation using their microphone and webcam. If you would like your learners to conduct a discussion or conversation where they use their mic or webcam, look no further than the Discussions tool already included in your Lions SHARE Courses classroom.
If you already have a Discussion Topic created, then proceed to step 2. If not, create a new Discussion Topic. Refer to the Brightspace documentation for Creating a Discussion Topic. When creating the Discussion Topic, be sure to configure your discussion starter, prompt, question in the Description text box, since that it what learners will see whenever they go to the Discussion Topic, and what they will use to guide their posts.
If you wish to include media in your discussion prompt, use the editor toolbar inside the Description area. Use the Insert Stuff button or the Insert Image button. The Insert Stuff button includes many different media options, including the Video Note feature, which allows you to record yourself and insert a video, with a length of up to 3 minutes. Refer to the Brightspace documentation for the Basics of the HTML Editor and Creating and Inserting a Video Note in the HTML Editor.
After you lead your students to your Discussion Topic (via the Discussions tool in the navbar, or via a link to the Discussion Topic), your students will read the Description at the top of the Discussion Topic, and then they will click the Create New Thread button to post a new thread.
If they are replying to an existing Thread, then the student will click on the title of the Thread to view it. There, they will see the profile image for the person who wrote the Thread next to the person’s post.
In either case (New Thread or Reply), the student will use the HTML Editor to write the post. The student can use the Insert Stuff or Insert Image buttons on the HTML Editor toolbar in order to insert media into the post. Additionally, can click the Add Attachments area, where they can choose to Record Video or Record Audio, with a length of up to 3 minutes. This allows the student to record their webcam and microphone, instead of just typing a post.
Using the same directions in step 2 above, students and instructors can continue the discussion by posting New Threads and Replies with rich media and recordings as attachments, which mimics the workflow that VoiceThread offers.
VoiceThread provided a space that allowed learners to build a series of slides, documents, or images and add their narration or annotation to those media pieces. If you would like your learners to build a narrated or annotated series of media pieces, we recommend using Microsoft Office Mix.
While you probably already know that Microsoft Powerpoint (available through the university’s Office 365 enterprise license to all employees and students) can be used to insert audio recordings in slides, you might not have tried Microsoft Office Mix, which is an add-on for Powerpoint that allows you to easily record a shareable, narrated slideshow, that can include an inset of you talking on your webcam, or an animation of you annotating a slide, or even an interactive auto-graded quiz!
Refer to the Office Mix For Teachers website, which has a lot of handy resources for both instructors and students who wish to learn to use Microsoft Office Mix.
Once you or your students have created a Mix, it can be hyperlinked or embedded (just like a Youtube video or VoiceThread) into any text area in the Courses system, such as a post in the Discussion tool, a File in the Content tool, or a News Item in the News tool.
Additionally, there is a special integration between the Lions SHARE Courses system and Office Mix. To utilize this integration, which will allow you to track who is viewing your Mix based on student names, add an External Learning Tool link in the Content tool using these instructions.
If you’ve created VoiceThreads on the account provided by the university’s site license, you can export them as MOV or MP4 format video files, which you can then download, store, and share as you wish.
To export your VoiceThread projects as video files in MOV or MP4 format, refer to the VoiceThread documentation for Exports.
Once you’ve downloaded the exported VoiceThread video file, you can share it as desired. We suggest that you use the Content tool inside your Lions SHARE Courses classroom, since it is accessible to your learners and you can track their viewing of it. To share the video in the Content tool of your course, do the following:
- On your course’s navbar, click the Content tool.
- In the Table of Contents panel, click on the module in which you want to create a new topic.
- From the New drop-down menu, click the Video or Audio option.
- Click the Upload tab, and upload your video file.
- Click the Save button.
I Need to Speak with Someone
If you’ve read the information about about the expiration of our university site license for VoiceThread and would like someone to reach out to you for more assistance, please use the contact form below and someone from the Teaching and Learning Innovation team will get in touch with you within 2 business days.