VoiceThread - Instructor Guide

Last Updated: 12/19/2014


What is VoiceThread?

VoiceThread is an online interactive program that allows you to easily create a digital slide show using photos, video, or documents. The VoiceThread creator can then add comments (audio, text or video) and doodles to that slide show and share it with others who can comment as well.

Click to expand

CU-Boulder Site License Update

All instructors at the University of Colorado Boulder are eligible for Pro accounts (create an unlimited number of VoiceThreads, with unlimited storage). All students at University of Colorado Boulder are eligible for Basic accounts (create up to 50 VoiceThreads and 2 GB of storage).

Integration with D2L

VoiceThread is integrated with Desire2Learn in a number of ways and additional functionality is being developed. For an improved experience, including auto-populated classes and improved sharing capabilities, consider activating the VoiceThread Course View in your D2L course. This will allow students to access VoiceThread without having to login. Alternatively, you can always link out to VoiceThreads from within D2L.

Part one: Your CU VoiceThread Account

Logging in

CU users of VoiceThread can access the tool from either VoiceThread or through their D2L courses. When you are just beginning with the program, we recommend that you visit the CU VoiceThread page. Once you have VoiceThreads created and ready for your course, then you can easily add VoiceThreads to your D2L courses.

  • Go to http://colorado.voicethread.com
  • Log in with your CU credentials (CU Login Name and IdentiKey password)

    • Pro Accounts: Currently, when you register for VoiceThread, you will automatically be enrolled into a Basic account. In order to upgrade to a Pro account, email the IT Service Center at help@colorado.edu mention that you are a CU instructor/TA and request that your account be promoted.
    • If you have an old VoiceThread account, that is under an email other than your colorado.edu email, log in with your CU Login Name and your IdentiKey Password for now. To get your old VoiceThreads rolled into your new account, contact the IT Service Center at help@colorado.edu.


Show Screenshots: Off
  1. To customize your Identity click on your username (e.g. ralphie.buffalo@colorado.edu) at the top right of the screen and go to My Identities
  2. Select Edit
  3. Edit the name and picture associated with your account. You can upload a picture of yourself from your personal computer if you would like.

Part two: Create a VoiceThread

Many kinds of media can be used as the basis of your VoiceThread, including digital photos, digital video, Word documents, PowerPoint slides, Excel files, etc.

Show Screenshots: Off
  1. At the top of the page, select Create

Upload media

Once your VoiceThread is created, it is a 3-step process to upload and insert media: 1. Upload, 2. Comment, and 3. Share

Show Screenshots: Off
  1. Click Upload
  2. If the media (image, mp4, pdf) you would like to use is on your computer, select My Computer and browse to its location. Or you can import pictures from a variety of places, including Facebook, Flickr, or The New York Public Library, or link to a URL (picture URL ending in .jpg or .gif for example). If your computer or smartphone has a camera, you can take a picture or video to use by selecting My Webcam
  3. After importing the media, you can enter a title for the entire VoiceThread and then for that particular media. In the top left, click Add title and description to title your VoiceThread (you can edit this later). Next, select the new media you have uploaded, and once the thumbnail opens to the left, select add a title and link. You can add a URL to indicate the original source here as well.
  4. You can import multiple pictures, docs or videos into a single VoiceThread from this Create page to create a true slide show. Simply select Upload again to upload more media. Then you can drag and drop the images of the media to alter the order.
  5. Later, if you want to go back and Upload more media, reorder the media, or delete media from an old VoiceThread, you will need to access this page again by clicking on the MyVoice tab at the top of the page. Then select the menu option. Then select Edit.

Part three: Comment on your VoiceThread

Record, Reorder and Delete Comments

Now that all of the media is in place, we can integrate text, audio and webcam Comments.

Show Screenshots: Off
  1. Under the MyVoice tab, click on the thumbnail of the VoiceThread that you just created. The VoiceThread will open to the Comment screen. The four thumbnail pictures on the bottom right are the media that you have successfully embedded into the VoiceThread. To select a different media to begin commenting on, you can either click on the four thumbnail pictures or the large arrow to scroll through. Navigate through your media and select one to begin commenting.
  2. To Comment, click on Comment and the commenting menu will open with four commenting options. Roll over the icons to view your recording options.
    Follow the prompts to leave your audio, webcam, phone or text comments.
  3. When recording a comment, you will notice a color palette display and your cursor will change to a pencil. When you are in this comment mode, you can now select your pencil color and doodle on your VoiceThread.
  4. VoiceThread comments are played back in the order in which they were recorded. To change the order of the recorded comments, roll over one of the comments on the bottom bar (these are identified with spaces). For Macs, hold down the Shift key AND Space bar at the same time and drag the comment to where you want it. For PCs, hold down the Shift key and drag the comment to where you want it. 
  5. You can delete the comments after you save them. Just click on the picture icon when playing the VoiceThread comment to make the trash bin appear. Then click on the trash.

Part four: Open a VoiceThread for Commenting

By default, VoiceThreads are set to private. In order for others to be able to view them and leave comments, we must open the Publishing Options

Show Screenshots: Off
  1. From the Edit page, select the Publishing Options button at the very bottom of the window:
    • The following window will open:
  2. Adjust the Publishing Options to fit your needs then Save.

Part five: Creating a Copy of a VoiceThread

If you intend to have more than one class comment on a VoiceThread in the same semester, be sure to create copies of the VoiceThread and share a different copy with each distinct section. (This suggestion applies to VoiceThreads you plan to reuse semester to semester as well.) If you fail to create distinct copies, all of your students will comment on the same VoiceThread.

Show Screenshots: Off
  1. From MyVoice click on Menu of the VoiceThread you intend to copy then select Make a copy.
  2. You can then add a new title to the new VoiceThread. Be sure to include any relevant information such as the section number or the semester. Then select to Include only my comments or whichever option suits your needs. A new VoiceThread will be created.
  3. Be sure to open up the commenting options for your new VoiceThread (see Part Four) before sharing it

Part six: Share your VoiceThread in Desire2Learn

There are two primary ways you can share VoiceThreads in your D2L courses, by creating a link (Option 1) or by enabling the VoiceThread Course View (Option 2).

Note: If you intend to have more than one class comment on a VoiceThread, be sure to create various copies of the VoiceThread and share a different copy with each section. Return to Part Five to read more about the copying process.

D2L Sharing Option 1

If you plan to use VoiceThread only once or twice during the semester, we recommend that you share the link to your new VoiceThread in your Desire2Learn course.

Show Screenshots: Off
  1. From the MyVoice page, click on the menu button and then Share.
  2. A window will open. Select the Get a Link button and then Copy the Link, which will allow you to paste the link to your VoiceThread in a handout, a webpage, an email or in Desire2Learn.
  3. To post the link in your Desire2Learn Content tool, go to your D2L course homepage and select Content. Open (click on) the module in which you intend to post the link or create a new module.
  4. Next, select the New drop-down tab and select Create a Link.
  5. Enter the title to be displayed and then paste the URL/link you copied from VoiceThread. We also recommend you tick the Open in New Window box. Select Create. Either the VoiceThread will open automatically or you will see a page that will prompt your students to confirm they are CU users.

When your students click on a link to VoiceThread for the first time, they will be prompted to confirm that they have a CU Boulder username.

If they click "yes", they will be prompted to sign into VoiceThread with their CU credentials. The VoiceThread you created should open directly for commenting (if not, they can refresh their page and the VoiceThread will open). If they click “no”, they will be prompted to create an account.

D2L Sharing Option 2

If you plan to use VoiceThread often, or if you want your students to create or share VoiceThreads with each other, we recommend that you add the VoiceThread Course View to Content in your D2L course homepage. Accessing VoiceThread in this way will automatically create a group in your VoiceThread account for this course.

Show Screenshots: Off
  1. Within your D2L course homepage, go to Content and then open (click on) the module in which you intend to enable the VoiceThread Course View or create a new module. Then, select Add Activities > External Learning Tools.
  2. A small window will open. Under External Learning Tools, select VoiceThread and then Insert.
  3. Next, you will need to select the VoiceThreads to share with this course. Click on the link you just created, VoiceThread Course View, and then select the All My VoiceThreads tab. Your VoiceThread library will open within D2L. Select the VoiceThreads you wish to share with this course. The shared VoiceThreads will become outlined in yellow.

When your students click the VoiceThread Course View link, they will be able to view and comment on any VoiceThreads you have shared with the course without signing in to VoiceThread.

Note: If you use the VoiceThread Course View in D2L,your students will need to click on the course view link from within D2L at least once to establish a connection between your D2L course and their VoiceThread accounts.

The next time you sign into https://colorado.voicethread.com you will notice a new "group" has been created in your VoiceThread account with the same title as your D2L course. This new group was automatically created when you enabled the VoiceThread Course View.

If you wish to use the same VoiceThread in different sections or for different semesters, remember to create different versions or copies of your VoiceThreads (see Part Five)

See Part Eight: End of Semester Maintenance for additional information.

Part seven: Other Ways to Share VoiceThreads

If you use a blog or a website other than D2L, you can either link to VoiceThreads, embed VoiceThreads, or create a group within Colorado’s VoiceThread site.

To link to a VoiceThread, return to Part Five, Option 1.

VoiceThread's embed code

You can embed the VoiceThread so students can comment without needing to visit https://colorado.voicethread.com.

Show Screenshots: Off
  1. From the Comment or Share windows, select the Embed tab:
  2. A window will open that provides you with the embed code. Copy the Embed code, which often begins with <object width=”480…”
  3. You can embed your VoiceThread in most webpages that allow Flash and accept embed code.

Note: Your students will still be prompted to log in to VoiceThread before commenting.

Creating Groups (only Pro accounts)

If you elect NOT to use the VoiceThread Course View in D2L (described in Part Six), you can still create Groups for your specific courses in VoiceThread so your students can easily access the VoiceThreads for that class. A Pro account is needed for this step (see Part One for information on Pro accounts).

After a Group is created, sharing is really simple. Just click on a VoiceThread and drag it onto the Group’s name on the left. Your VoiceThread will instantly be shared with everyone in that Group.

When you click on any Group name on the left, you will see all of the VoiceThreads that are currently shared with the Group.

Part eight: End-of-Semester Maintenance

If you added the VoiceThread Course View to your D2L course and plan to use VoiceThread for the same course in the future, your VoiceThread groups/classes list will quickly become confusing. Thus, at the end of every semester, follow these steps to ensure that VoiceThread is ready to go for the next semester.

  • Make a copy of any VoiceThreads you want to reuse.When copying, select the "Keep only my comments" option so that students' comments from the previous semester are deleted, but not yours. For more information on copying VoiceThreads, see Part 5of this tutorial.
  • If you use the VoiceThread Course View in Desire2Learn and you are copying course content from one D2L course to another:
    • Delete the link to the VoiceThread Course View before copying the content into a new D2L course. Also, delete any VoiceThreads from D2L that were embedded into the old D2L course; don't worry, they'll still be available from within VoiceThread itself.
    • Retitle your new D2L courseby adding the term to the end of the course title (e.g. Spanish 2110 Spring 2014).
    • Enable your VoiceThread Course View in your new course. By enabling your VoiceThread Course View after retitling your D2L course, you are ensuring that the course is distinguishable from other courses within VoiceThread itself and that the appropriate students are associated with the course in VoiceThread.