Student Presentations with VoiceThread assignments

This guide provides context and support for using VoiceThread for student Oral/Video Presentations. VoiceThread is available via Blackboard (MySCU) and integrated with the Grade Centre. VoiceThread assignments provide a one-stop location for students to develop and submit their presentations, where markers can quickly view and grade each presentation providing feedback using VoiceThread's commenting features. 

This document will guide you on the following: 

Before you begin

Consider the features of VoiceThread that students will be encouraged to use in their presentations. For example:

  • VoiceThread presentations can be created one slide at a time, which means that students can create their presentations and then add narration later.
  • Students could upload video files they have made with other programs into VoiceThread (such as Zoom). 
  • Students could augment their presentations with commentary, multiple media types and ‘doodling’ (marking up slides with a digital pen tool).

Familiarise Students with VoiceThread

It is strongly recommended that students are familiar and orientated with the features of VoiceThread prior to starting a VoiceThread based assessment task. The following article guides students on How to submit a VoiceThread assignment or you can share the following PDF version Student Guide to submitting a VoiceThread assignment.pdf. 

Where VoiceThread will be used for summative assessment

It is important to note that the assessment policy at SCU states that students should be provided with rubric-based grading and feedback. However, the VoiceThread assignments tool only records a single numerical mark within the Blackboard Grade Centre. In order to use digital rubrics with VoiceThread, the following article provides guidance: Using Bb rubrics with a VoiceThread Assignment

VoiceThread assignments also do not provide the standard ‘needs grading’ notification in the Blackboard Grade Centre, so it is more difficult to determine when students have submitted their presentations. 

Setting up VoiceThread assignments 

  1. Create a VoiceThread link within your Bb learning site click on Build Content > Add VoiceThread.

  2. Under the GRADING section ensure that Enable evaluation is ticked and that Points possible is set. You are also encouraged to set a Due Date.

  3. Click Submit to save and create the VoiceThread link.
  4. Click the VoiceThread link and select Assignment Builder.

  5. There are 3 types of VoiceThread Assignments to choose from; Create, Comment, and Watch. For the purposes of student presentations choose the "Create" type and then click continue.

  6. Set the options for the VoiceThread Assignment. Click Continue when you are happy with the settings.

    Check permissions

    Make sure to carefully check the Permissions and Student Gallery options. These options allow students to make copies and download their VoiceThread, and access other students work. 

  7. Check that Assessment is set to Percentage (calculated out of 100).

  8. Click on Publish to complete the Assignment.

The video below covers the Voicethread assignment building process.

Marking a VoiceThread Assignment 

Grading using digital Rubrics with VoiceThread

The VoiceThread marking interface does not currently support a digital rubric grading method. It is however possible to add a Blackboard rubric to the grade centre column associated with a VoiceThread assignment as explained in the following article: Using Bb rubrics with a VoiceThread Assignment

Potential Risks to using VoiceThread for assessment

It is critical that all markers and students that will use Voicethread are familiar with how it works. In some circumstances, it may be possible for students to share or view others' work due to a misunderstanding of how VoiceThread is configured and functions.

VoiceThread Assignment links that are edited by academic staff but not Published will display the following error message, and students will be unable to submit.

Make sure to click on the Publish button when making edits to a Voicethread assignment.

Students need to be aware that submitting a VoiceThread to the VoiceThread Home page,  allows their work to be viewed by other students in the university.

marking a VoiceThread Assignment the process is; 

  1. Open the VoiceThread Assignments LTI link from BlackBoard. 
  2. Click on the student's name from the UNGRADED column, and watch the VoiceThread Assignment. 

  3. Provide any feedback as Voicethread comments in the VoiceThread (detailed below in providing in-context feedback to students).
  4. Determine the student's numerical grade using your marking strategy (such as a separate rubric in Word or Excel).
  5. Enter the numerical grade and click SAVE GRADE, which will update the associated column in the Blackboard Grade Centre. This submission will now be listed in the GRADED column.

This video goes through the process of grading an assignment within VoiceThread in more detail:

Providing in-context feedback to students

A key strength of VoiceThread is the ability for others to post asynchronous comments and questions, facilitating collaboration and targeted feedback within the context of a student presentation. Instructors can provide text/video/audio feedback while reviewing the student presentation. The student then receives these comments regarding their performance in-context as they playback their presentation. 

You are able to use the VoiceThread commenting tool to add targeted feedback to students throughout their assignment. Ensure that you inform students how they can access any feedback you provide. Because VoiceThread comments can only be text, audio or video you are unable to upload other file types (.docx or .jpg) directly into a VoiceThread as a comment.

Rubric feedback as a comment

If you decide to use VoiceThread comments you are advised to inform your students about the process of receiving teacher feedback through VoiceThread. 

Attaching files to VoiceThread comments  

If you attempt to attach a PowerPoint, Word or image file to a VoiceThread as a comment you will receive an error message as VoiceThread does not allow you to do this. 

(Please note - it's better to refer to the Online version rather than export, as it's always up to date)