Connect – September 2016

VoiceThread – Multimedia Collaboration and Sharing Online

VoiceThread is a web based software that allows faculty (and students) to create presentations or facilitate discussions by uploading slides, images, or video(s) and then adding audio or video narrations. While one can choose from a variety of tools to make a narrated presentation for students to watch, what makes VoiceThread different – and potentially more interactive – is that ease with which the creator can enable any viewer to comment on a given image or slide in the presentation. As time passes, and students and faculty add to the presentation, the VoiceThread itself becomes an increasingly rich source for understanding the content. In addition to faculty presentations and class discussions, VoiceThread can also be used for student or group presentations, allowing others to view and comment outside of class time.

Molly Knight & Tina Boyer – German Masterworks in Translation: Monstrosity

Connect IconFor the second iteration of their fully online summer course, Dr. Knight & Dr. Boyer looked to VoiceThread as a way to increase the quality of the weekly interactions students engage in around the major concepts of the course. Their weekly discussions give the students an opportunity to process the readings and course videos, demonstrate their familiarity with key points, and hone their understanding of the topic through the feedback they receive from each other and their instructors. The students respond both to the instructors’ prompts and their peers’ posts. While the discussions themselves occurred asynchronously, the ubiquity of video and audio comments helped to create a more robust classroom online. VoiceThread is relatively unique regarding the ease with which students and instructors can post audio and video comments in the context of threaded discussions. Molly and Tina’s instructional design allowed their students to maintain a high bar for class discussions, while improving the sense of community they all experienced in seeing and hearing their classmates.

Brian Calhoun – Strategic Job Search (CNS 320)

As Brian prepares to teach this course online next summer, he is searching for a way to replicate the in-class interaction and discussion that is a hallmark of this course when taught on campus. To that end, he plans to use VoiceThread as a way to present content, and engage students more deeply. From Brian:

The undergraduate students will utilize VT through weekly discussion posts during the five week CNS320 Strategic Job Search online class. One of the weekly assignments will have the students utilize their peer networks to refine their responses to interview questions, and develop well thought out questions to ask potential employers during job interview and recruitment events. The interactivity of the VT discussion posts will hopefully reduce student anxiety over high pressure interview and career fair situations by requiring them to talk about these job search situations in person, so to speak, in advance. I encourage students to ask questions using VT that they feel they will face in a job interview, and I really value being able to walk through these scenarios for the benefit of the entire class.

While watching videos of oneself can be difficult at times, the hope is that by practicing their answers and recording their responses, students will be better equipped to deliver in critical moments. While Brian has arrived at this solution for his online course, it’s possible that it might also inform his practice in his face-to-face course.

Interested in getting started in VoiceThread:

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