There are four simple steps to using VoiceThread in your Blackboard courses:
- Adding VoiceThread to your course
- Setting up your VoiceThread link
- Waiting for students to submit work (if you’ve created a graded assignment)
- Grading student work (if you’ve created a graded assignment)
See VoiceThread integration in action!
1. Adding VoiceThread to your course
VoiceThread is integrated into your Blackboard environment by your administrator, so you can simply follow the steps below to pull it into your course.
- Navigate to the “Content” area for your course.
- Click on the “Build Content” or “Tools” menu.
- Select “VoiceThread” from the menu.
- Give the link a title and description if you’d like.
NOTE: The description cannot contain any line breaks or multiple paragraphs.
- If you will be creating a graded assignment, remember to enable grading. This option may be called “Enable Evaluation” or “Enable Outcomes” depending on how your Blackboard is set up.
- Click on the + button wherever you would like to add your VoiceThread link.
- Click on “Content Market”.
- Find “VoiceThread” in your list of tools. Click on the + button in the bottom-right corner of the VoiceThread box. Note: It is important to click the + icon instead of the VT logo.
- Edit the link you just created to customize the title, description, and publishing settings. If this is a graded assignment, make sure you check the box to “Create gradebook entry for this item”.
After you have added VoiceThread to your course, you’ll need to decide what you want students to see when they click on that link. Start by clicking on the link you’ve just created. This will show you the VoiceThread Setup page, where you can select the option that best fits your needs. These options are detailed below.
Note: If you want VoiceThread integrated with your gradebook, you must use the Assignment Builder.
Display the collection of VoiceThreads that have been shared with your course. Anything that has not yet been explicitly shared with your course will not appear here.
This is a good option when you want students to find and comment on each other’s work or if you want to allow students to review all course materials prior to an exam.
Display any VoiceThread that you have created. When students click on the link, they’ll see just this one VoiceThread.
This option is the best way to create a VoiceThread discussion board or lecture. Students will not need to look through a collection of VoiceThreads to find the correct one; they will be taken straight to it.
Display all of a student’s VoiceThread content in a single view. This includes all VoiceThreads and all courses that belong to them.
This option is useful if you want to create a simple portal into VoiceThread without directing students to any specific content.
Create a graded assignment for students to complete. You can require them to create a VoiceThread of their own to submit, to comment on a VoiceThread you’ve created, or simply to watch a VoiceThread start to finish.
After you’ve selected the type of assignment you’d like to create, you’ll be walked through the steps to complete the setup process. You can include a description for your assignment, select a VoiceThread you’ve created for the Comment or Watch Assignment, decide whether students are allowed to resubmit their assignments or if the first submission is final, and even require a specific number of comments for the Comment Assignment.
3. Student Assignment Submission
When students click on the link for a graded assignment, they will see the assignment you’ve created. They can immediately create or select a VoiceThread to submit for the Create Assignment, record comments on your VoiceThread for the Comment Assignment, or watch the VoiceThread for the Watch Assignment. As soon as they click on the “Submit Assignment” button, you will be able to grade their work.
Click here for the assignment submission guide for students.
4. Grading student work
When you’re ready to grade a VoiceThread assignment, simply return to your course and click on the VoiceThread link again. This will display the grader.
Click on a student’s name on the right to see that student’s submission. You can click on each comment below his or her name individually to jump directly to it. Enter a grade on a percentage scale (0-100), and hit “Enter” on your keyboard. This grade will immediately be entered into your Blackboard course gradebook.
* Note: If you have set the assignment to be worth less than 100 points, still grade it on a scale of 0-100, and the score will be adjusted accordingly in your gradebook.
If you have students who have not yet submitted their assignments, click on the “Remind” button to send them an email reminder. Click “Remind all students” to send an email to everyone who has not yet submitted.
Re-using your own assignments
If your institution has integrated VoiceThread using the OSCELOT Basic LTI Building Block, or if you are using the SaaS version of Blackboard, then your assignments and content are copied over automatically. When you copy a course in Blackboard, copies of all of the associated VoiceThread content will appear in that new copy. You will not have to reconfigure any of your VoiceThread links or assignments.
Note: All content is copied over, which means if there is student work in your original course, that same student work will appear in your copy. It is best to copy from a template course in Blackboard, but if you must copy from an already-used course, you’ll have to go back through an delete student work from your fresh copy.
If you’re still using the hosted version of Blackboard and are not using the Building Block, then you’ll need to use this workflow instead. You can copy those existing VoiceThreads manually so that you don’t have to re-create anything, but you will still need to reset each assignment link in the course. This tutorial walks you through the process.
Creating and using template VoiceThreads shared between instructors
Handing off a course from one instructor or instructional designer to another is quick and easy! This tutorial walks you through creating templates for other people and using templates that someone else has created.
Known issues specific to Blackboard:
- Assignment due dates do not save within Blackboard. (Fixed in the Q2 2016 version of Blackboard)
- You cannot have a line break or hyperlinked item in the description of any link. (Fixed in Q2 2016 release of Blackboard)
- Submitted assignments do not show up in the “Needs Grading” area of the grade center.
- If your link title contains an apostrophe, the connection to VoiceThread will fail and you will see a blank page. Try removing the apostrophe to fix this. Fixed in Q2 2018 release of Blackboard
Error message: “The authentication failed; the authentication is stale. Please try again.”
This is caused by a bug in Blackboard. If you click on the VoiceThread link in your course and see a “Launch” button, don’t click on it. Instead, try letting the page sit for a few seconds without clicking anything. You should be forwarded to VoiceThread automatically.
Error message: “The authentication failed; the signature on your request did not match the expected value” or “Unsupported Signature Method”
If the issue is isolated to a single link, the description entered by the instructor when setting up the VoiceThread link in the course likely contains a line break. Descriptions in Blackboard must be a single, continuous paragraph. To correct this, edit the description so that it does not contain any line breaks at all.
Note: This is fixed in the Q2 2016 release of Blackboard.
If the issue occurs with all links in all courses, have your Blackboard administrator check to make sure the Shared Secret is entered correctly in your Global LTI Configuration and Placement, and that the clock on your Blackboard server is accurate.
Can’t see student submission for grading
The student likely did not click the “Submit Assignment” button after completing his work. The student can simply go back into the assignment and click “Submit Assignment” at a later time. He will not need to re-do his work.
Don’t have the option to enable grading for your VoiceThread link
Grading likely has not yet been enabled for LTI tools. Please refer your Blackboard administrator to the setup instructions, and have him or her see step 9 under Global LTI Configuration on that page.
You’re not automatically signed in to VoiceThread when you click on a VT link
Make sure your web browser accepts third-party cookies.
When you click on a VT link, you see a page titled “VoiceThread Account Verification”.
This means you already had a VoiceThread account under your email address, and the system is now trying to connect that existing account with your Blackboard profile. You’ll only need to complete this step once. To proceed through this page:
- Click on the link that says “Set it here” to set a verification password for your account.
- Proceed through the steps to set a password. This will involve receiving an email from VoiceThread.
- Use that password you just set on the verification page.