Voice Thread Fast Start Guide for Instructors

VoiceThread is a third-party tool connected to Blackboard 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 course.

VoiceThread available image


Creating a VoiceThread

Create Link image


Working in a VoiceThread

VT setup image

Add your own image

Add media image

Thread settings image

share sample thread

share thread image

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.  

vt tools menu

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. VoiceThread grading uses percentage and not score however you can change the grade display to score in Blackboard’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.

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

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): 

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: 

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, a screen similar to this will appear

grading feature image

Click the blue link to view students’ VoiceThreads.

A screen similar to  the one below displays.

Grading details image

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.

VT Homepage image


Additional VoiceThread Resources

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