VoiceThread Support for Faculty

Welcome to the CI VoiceThread Faculty Toolkit

Illustration showing the VoiceThread interface

What is VoiceThread?

VoiceThread is a unique, web-based tool that is integrated into CI Learn and available to all CI faculty and students. Unlike standard discussion tools, VoiceThread empowers you and your students to have asynchronous conversations in voice or video from a computer or mobile app around your media files.

View an Example!

Some of the ways CI faculty are currently using VoiceThread include:

  • student presentations (flipped class style)
  • peer review
  • discussions
  • reflections
  • foreign language practice
  • mobile field trips
  • book conversations
  • voice-based instructor feedback

Faculty Showcase

Creating a VoiceThread

Log into VoiceThread at CI

  • Sign into MyCI (we recommend using Chrome as your browser)
  • Click on CI Learn
  • Under "Help" on the left, click on VoiceThread

Create Your Slides

    • Click "Home" in the top left corner of your screen (this takes you to your VoiceThread "Home" page)
    • Click "Create" at the top of the page
    • Click "Add Media"and select one of these options:
      • My Computer - upload files from your computer (click here for details about file types supported)
        • Tips for uploading Powerpoint or Keynote slides.
          • Format your slides for widescreen (16:9)
          • Export presentation slides to images (.jpg or .png) or a PDF prior to uploading them into VoiceThread.
          • Also check out our Guide for Creating Slides
      • Media Options - a great way to search for an add media from VoiceThread's integrated media options, which includes importing slides from your existing VoiceThreads
      • Webcam Photo - Take a still photo using your webcam
      • Webcam Video - Record a vide using your webcam
      • URL - paste a link to a direct media file or a YouTube video!
    • To add more media, just click "Add Media" again and repeat the previous step
    • Once your media is uploaded, you may drag and drop slides to rearrange their order.
    • Click here for more creating tips.

Add Your Presence

  • VoiceThread's power lies in its ability to bring your rich, human presence to your students -- wherever they may be. Before you share a VoiceThread with your students, take time to narrate the slides with video comments. Here are some tips:
    • On the first slide, welcome your students with a friendly greeting.
    • Be concise. Don't kid yourself, your students won't listen to long comments.
    • Speak slowly and clearly.
    • Test your recording to ensure it is of high quality.
    • Don't be a robot. Speak naturally and don't feel the need to be perfect -- because you aren't! You're human!
    • Ensure you have light that is facing you (not behind you) so your face is illuminated in the video.
    • Be mindful of what's behind you. You may not want your students to see everything in your video's frame --so check that out first!
    • Find a quiet place. Background noise will distract from your message.

Go to the next tab to learn how to add your VoiceThread to your course in CI Learn!

How and where you set up VoiceThread within your course will depend on if you're using VoiceThread for a graded activity, using the Assignment Builder, or a nongraded activity. Graded activities can be added to modules after their creation, just like any other assignment in Canvas.

Step 1: Add a link for your VoiceThread Assignment

  • Navigate to the “Assignments” area of your course.
  • Create a new assignment.
  • Name the assignment and write a brief description explaining to students what they will be expected to do.
  • Under Submission Type, select “External Tool”.
  • Click on the text field below the External Tool URL.
  • Select “VoiceThread” from the list.
  • Save.

Step 2: Set up your VoiceThread Assignment

  1. Click on the Assignment link you just created.
  2. The VoiceThread Setup window opens.
  3. For non-graded assignments or assignments you will manually grade (no integration with the Canvas gradebook), select one of the following:
    • Course View: the link will take students to a view of all the VoiceThreads you have shared with the course
    • Home: the link will take students to their VoiceThread homepage (where they will see VoiceThreads shared with all classes in which they are enrolled)
    • Individual VT: the link will take students directly to a specific VoiceThread (this is the option used most frequently)
  4. For graded assignments that integrate with the Canvas gradebook (these include assignments that require students to "create" their own VoiceThread or "comment" in a VoiceThread you created), select Assignment Builder. Then proceed to the instructions below.

VoiceThread Assignment Builder

The Assignment Builder link provides faculty the benefit of being able to grade a VoiceThread directly from the CI Learn gradebook. If you set up an Assignment Builder link, you will need to identify the type of activity your students will be completing.

In VoiceThread, the two main activity types are:

  1. Comment - you create a VoiceThread and your students comment in it
  2. Create - your students create a VoiceThread to demonstrate mastery of competencies, submit it to you for grading, and share it with the rest of the class

View the video below to learn how to set up Comment and Create activities using Assignment Builder.

Click the button below to view more detailed instructions with images.

Get Detailed Instructions

You and your students may choose to access, listen to, and record comments in a VoiceThread from a smartphone or tablet.

To access your CI VoiceThreads from the mobile app, you must follow these one-time set up steps.

  1. Download the free VoiceThread mobile app onto your Android or iOS device
  2. Open the VoiceThread app
  3. Click "Settings"
  4. In the Domain box, enter csuci
  5. Click "Save"
  6. Click "Sign in"
  7. The MyCI log-in screen will appear.Enter your CI credentials and click "Sign in."
  8. Click "Sign in" on the next screen also.
  9. The VoiceThread mobile app will open and take you directly to the "Home" page of your account.
  10. Click on the hamburger icon in the upper left corner
  11. From the next view, select your course title and you will have access to the VoiceThreads shared with that course.

Prefer a visual explanation? Watch the video below.

Providing support and guidance for students is an important element of teaching effectively with VoiceThread. The resources below are provided to save you time and ensure your students have a successful learning experience.

  • Provide the CI VoiceThread student support site. Include the link to the CI VoiceThread Student Support site in your syllabus and in CI Learn.  The support site includes a very useful "Introduction to VoiceThread" tutorial. Have your students watch it before they participate in their first VoiceThread.
  • Start with an ice breaker. As you begin to teach with VoiceThread, remember that students are often nervous about recording voice or video comments that will be heard by their peers.  A good way to introduce students to VoiceThread is with a low-stake, ice breaker activity the first week of class. This provides all students with an opportunity to learn to use VoiceThread and make connections with their peers. And don't forget to participate too! Your active engagement in your VoiceThread activities is an important part of building a community in your class.
  • Include "tips" slides and "how-to" videos in your VoiceThreads . T&LI has you covered here! We know that it's time consuming to create these types of student support resources, so we have made them for you. Click the button below and then log into your Google Account to  make your own copy of slides you can bring directly into your own VoiceThreads! 
  • Accommodate students with disabilities. VoiceThread's unique visual and auditory environment supports more learning variability than text-based environments alone; however, it is not immediately accessible to students who have vision impairments or are hard of hearing. If DRP notifies you that you have a student in your class who requires accommodations for these disabilities, T&LI will support you to ensure your course materials are accessible to all your students.  Click the button below to learn more.

Accommodatiing Students with Disabilities

General "how-to" support:

Pedagogical support:

Learn from your amazing CI faculty peers!