Are you looking for ways to engage your students in learning? Consider partnering with the Centre for Extended Learning (CEL) and the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) to pilot a new instructional tool in Waterloo’s on-campus and online classes: VoiceThread.
You may be interested in learning about the pilot if your goal is to engage students in any of the activities below:
- Idea sharing and interaction
- Community building
- Social learning
- Peer instruction
- Critical reflection
- Presentation practice
- Digital literacy skills building
- Language practice
What is VoiceThread?
VoiceThread is a media-based discussion tool. A key feature of VoiceThread is that it enables you and your students to create digital presentations and make them the centre of a discussion. Presentations can include documents, images, PowerPoint slides, audio, or video. Students attach comments to the presentation using a keyboard (text), a microphone or telephone (audio), or a webcam (video). Discussions are asynchronous, meaning students are not online at the same time.
Why use VoiceThread?
Penn State’s Use Case Introduction gives several examples of why instructors use VoiceThread:
- On-campus, create digital presentations on difficult to comprehend concepts and processes. Students can review content multiple times and ask the instructor questions on specific slides.
- Enable students to present knowledge and research digitally. The class benefits from exposure to a multitude of topics. The presenter benefits from practice articulating themselves verbally and peer feedback.
- Actively engage students in online lectures by prompting them to comment on specific slides or respond to questions posed within the presentation.
- Increase your online instructor teaching presence and build online class community by initiating weekly kick-off discussions.
- Create an online ‘seminar’ course experience where students grapple with heavy readings together in both written and verbal formats.
The VoiceThread pilot is scheduled to run from Winter 2017–Winter 2018. Faculty who participate in the pilot will receive a VoiceThread account linked to their LEARN user account and a course site. Training and support for the pilot will be supported by CEL, CTE, and LEARN Help. Faculty participants and course participants will be asked to provide feedback via survey response, panel discussion, and interview.
If you would like to volunteer to be a part of this pilot, please contact CEL’s Gillian Dabrowski, firstname.lastname@example.org, or your CTE Liaison with the following details:
- Course information (CourseID, name, section) and expected number of students
- A description of how you will use VoiceThread in your course to support student engagement and assessment. How might VoiceThread help solve a problem you are experiencing with discussions or assessment as you currently use them?
- A YouTube video pertaining to VoiceThread
- VoiceThread at PSU
Gao, F. & Sun, Y. (2010). Supporting an online community of inquiry using VoiceThread. In C. Maddux et al. (Eds.) Research Highlights in Information Technology and Teacher Education 2010 (pp.9-18). Chesapeake, VA: Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE).