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Voice Thread Fast Start Guide for Instructors

VoiceThread is a third-party tool connected to Blackboard Learn Original and works like an online discussion board where participants can respond with video, audio and text comments. Smartphones can also be used. Participants can upload, share, and discuss a variety of media such as documents, presentations, images, audio files, and more.

Getting Started

Make sure you have the VoiceThread tool available in your Blackboard Learn Original course.

  • Go to Course Management > Control Panel > Customization > Tool Availability
  • VoiceThread-NDSU should be available in the course and in the Content Area
  • Once you open the tool in Blackboard Learn Original, it will automatically log you in to the VoiceThread site.

VoiceThread available image


Creating a VoiceThread

  • Go to a content area in Blackboard Learn Original
  • Click on Tools
  • Select VoiceThread-NDSU
  • A new window will open to name the link and put in a description

Example of Assignment


  • In addition to the text description you can also attach documents, images and more (all included in the textbox editor features)
  • Scrolling down there are options to:
    • Make Available
    • Track Number of Views
    • Date Restrictions
  • Once you have completed your descriptions, click on Submit.

Working in a VoiceThread

  • Open the VoiceThread link you just created
  • NOTE: for instructors as well as students, once the link is clicked in the course for the first time, the account is automatically created.
  • The VoiceThread window will appear

VT setup image

  • There are 3 non-graded links
    • Course View – takes you into your course group on VoiceThread
    • Home – Homepage – listing all of your courses, non-course created threads, and any groups you may join
    • Individual VT – How you share specific threads
  • Select Course View
  • The page will show No Voice Threads. Click in the upper right-hand corner to +Add your own.
  • Once you choose what type of link you want to show the students, you can create your VoiceThread with Audio, Video, and share documents on your computer
  • Choose Add Media shown below (or drop files where indicated.) For the NDSU instance of VoiceThread, files should not exceed 3 GB. There is no limit to the number of files you can upload. Acceptable file types include:
  • Presentations: PPT, PPTX, Keynote, ODP, and PDF
  • Documents: DOC, DOCX, PDF, ODT, XLS, XLSX, and ODS
  • Images: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP
  • Audio: MP3 or WAV
  •  Video: Visit VoiceThread’s help site for more information
  • Select the file’s source and browse to locate the file.
     (Note: clicking either Audio Recording or Webcam Video starts a new recording. Webcam Photo will allow you to take a picture using your computer.)
  • Add a title, and description, and, if applicable, add tags

Thread settings image

  • Click the Playback Options tab to view options associated with this VoiceThread. If you wish to allow students to reply to other student’s posts, click Enable Threaded Commenting. Enable Comment Moderation allows you to view comments before allowing others to see them. You can also limit the amount of time students have to leave a comment
  • Click the Cover Art to add an image if desired. Otherwise, choose Save when finished.
  • Your VoiceThread is now ready to be shared with the class. Click Share next

share sample thread

  • Select the class you wish to share with and sharing options will display on the right. Click Share to finish:

share thread image

  • Once you’ve shared the VoiceThread, you can click Who Has Access to view who will be able to see the VoiceThread

who has access

Congratulations, you’ve just created your first VoiceThread. Next, you’ll want to add a link to it in your course.

Add VoiceThread to the Content Area – Unlinked to Grade Center

In your course site, you can add a link to a VoiceThread through the Tools menu (non-graded) or the Assessment menu. There are advantages to both.  

  • Locate the content area in your course where you would like the link to your VoiceThread to appear.
  • Choose the Tools menu
  • Select VoiceThread
  • Give your VoiceThread a name
  • Add an optional description
  • Specify options such as Create a Grade and whether to track views.
  • Choose Submit.
  • A VoiceThread object will be added to your course site. 
  • Click on the link to the newly created VoiceThread to set it up. 

Add VoiceThread to the Content Area – Linked to the Grade Center

In your course site, you can also add a link to a VoiceThread through the Build Content menu so you can grade students’ work directly in VoiceThread. A grade column is automatically created in Blackboard Learn Original. VoiceThread grading uses percentage and not score however you can change the grade display to score in Blackboard Learn’s Grade Center. Rubrics are also not supported. 

If you use the Tools menu to add VoiceThread, keep in mind you can manually create grade columns in the Grade Center thus giving you the option of using either percentage or score for a grade display, and you can add a rubric to, a manually created, Grade Center column. 

These next steps will instruct you how to add VoiceThread Using the Build Content menu and link it to the Grade Center.

  • Locate the content area in your course where you would like VoiceThread to appear
  • Choose the Build Content menu 
  • Select VoiceThread
  • Give your VoiceThread a name
  • Add an optional description

Specify options below. You must check Enable Evaluation and specify points possible and a due date (if desired) to enable grading in VoiceThread. 

enable grading image

  • Choose to Submit when finished
  • Go back to the content area and select the VoiceThread you just added. Click Assignment Builder to continue setting up the graded VoiceThread. If you added Voicethread using the Tools menu, you must choose one of the other three options

VoiceThread setup image

Course View – Displays an entire collection of VoiceThreads shared within your course.

Home – This displays all of a student’s VoiceThread content in a single view including all VoiceThreads and all courses that belong to them.

Individual VT – Display any single VoiceThread you have created. When students click the link to your VoiceThread, they will see just one VoiceThread. This is a good option for a discussion board or lecture.

Assignment Builder – This option only appears when you have enabled grading and will link to the Gradebook. 

Assignment Builder Options

For this handout, you’ll choose Submit a Comment since you’ve already created a VoiceThread previously.

select type image

Create a VoiceThread – Students will create their own VoiceThread to submit as their assignment.

Submit a Comment – Students will comment on a VoiceThread you’ve created.

Watch a VoiceThread – Students will watch a VoiceThread from start to finish.

Select the VoiceThread you created earlier (if you didn’t create a VoiceThread, you can do that now. Remember to share it with your class.)

select vt image

Once you select the VoiceThread, you can specify the number of comments required (1 is recommended), add a description, edit the VoiceThread, preview the VoiceThread and so on. Click Create Assignment to finish.

assignment finish image

Add a Comment to Your VoiceThread - Optional

Instructors and students add comments the same way. Click on the link to the VoiceThread and click the blue title link. Hover your mouse beneath the VoiceThread media image to reveal options for recording comments. There are 5 options to choose from (shown right): 

  • Add text comments
  • Add a comment via telephone
  • Add an audio comment
  • Add a video comment
  • Upload a file comment

After selecting a recording option, a countdown will appear onscreen before the recording starts. You can cancel and rerecord or listen to and then save the recording. If you choose to Skip the Countdown, the next time you choose to make a recording the countdown will not appear. The Skip Countdown button works as a toggle if you wish to bring it back again. While recording, colored pencil icons appear for you to annotate your media file. 

After you make a recording, your thumbnail image will appear on the left side of the screen. If you hover your mouse over your image, these options will appear: 

  • Delete
  • Add close captioning
  • Reply

When students post a comment, VoiceThread sends an email notification. In the email message, you will find a link to control notification preferences.

Using VoiceThread’s Grading Features

When you click the link to VoiceThread to begin grading, click the blue link to view students’ VoiceThreads.

  • Click the play/pause button to listen to students’ recordings.
  • A video thumbnail of the student will display. Use the arrow to reply. Comments can be deleted using the trash can icon.
  • A progress bar displays at the bottom. Each section of the progress bar is clickable. Hover over a segment to reveal student's name, recording date and time, and recording length.
  • Enter students' grades here. (Note this is a percentage.)
  • Full-screen mode – this button is a toggle.
  • Zoom control.
  • Students who have not submitted. You can click to send them a reminder. Note that when you set up VoiceThread, you can specify a minimum number of entries. 1 is recommended. For example, if you specify 3 as a minimum, and the student makes only one post, you cannot enter a score for them. You’ll need to manually enter a score in Blackboard Learn’s Original Grade Center.  
  • Control playback speed.

Using a Rubric with VoiceThread

If you wish to use a rubric for grading VoiceThread, you’ll need to add VoiceThread to your course site using the Tools option, then manually create grade columns in the Grade Center. Edit the grade column to add the rubric.

VoiceThread Training Resources

VoiceThread has a digital library so you can see some examples of how VoiceThread is used for other disciplines such as English, Foreign Language, Information Technology, Science, Social Studies, Professional Development, and more.

Many of the tutorials and sample VoiceThreads are included in the main VoiceThread Window. At the top of the main window there are three options Home, Browse and Create.

  • Home brings you to your VoiceThreads
  • Browse brings you to tutorials and areas for Higher Education, K-12 and more

VT Homepage image


Additional VoiceThread Resources

Here are some links to their workshops, blogs, and their YouTube Channel for more in depth information.

KeywordsVoiceThread, Audio Discussion, discussion, threaded discussion   Doc ID106151
OwnerLori S.GroupIT Knowledge Base
Created2020-09-24 13:14:45Updated2023-11-17 18:07:03
SitesIT Knowledge Base
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