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VoiceThread Assignments for Media Projects and Peer Critique

One Instructor’s Use Case and Lessons Learned

Shifting to teaching in online and hybrid formats has created opportunities to identify how students can share multimedia projects and receive feedback through peer critique. While various tools support multimedia, faculty often wonder what tools can enhance asynchronous peer engagement for multimedia projects and how to use these tools with Blackboard.

UMBC community members have used asynchronous tools like VoiceThread for multimedia engagement. VoiceThread is a learning tool for enhancing student engagement and online presence. With VoiceThread, instructors and students can create, share, and comment on images, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, videos, audio files, documents, and PDFs, using text, a microphone, webcam, phone, and audio-file upload. 

The VoiceThread platform supported communication between presenters and visitors at conferences like URCAD, USM LSAMP, and SURF. In addition, faculty incorporate VoiceThread in Blackboard to share lectures, presentations, and student work. The most recent feature for VoiceThread in Blackboard, VoiceThread Assignments, creates a new level of integration between student work, collaboration, and Blackboard.

Kristen Anchor, Lecturer, Media and Communication Studies (MCS), uses VoiceThread Assignments in her MCS courses. She devised several innovative approaches to manage and facilitate media project assignments, peer learning, and peer critique. For Anchor, peer critique is an integral part of the learning and creative process. She explains to students, "Critique is helpful for two reasons: (1) Getting feedback on your work, and (2) practicing your visual and communication skills about media (as the critic)." How can instructors design online courses with asynchronous components to support this essential student interaction? Anchor finds VoiceThread helps students achieve course goals and meets the instructional need to support multimedia projects and peer engagement.

Anchor thoughtfully delivers VoiceThread assignments by providing students with assignment instructions and reference guides for using VoiceThread. She presents students with assignment instructions within Blackboard and again after they launch the VoiceThread Assignment. Students receive project examples as references with their assignment instructions. Anchor uses the VoiceThread Student Gallery for each project, an optional feature that faculty can select when creating a VoiceThread Assignment, to support peer critique.

The Student Gallery feature makes peer critique in VoiceThread possible; it allows students to see submissions from their peers and add audio, video, and text-based comments, allowing for asynchronous peer feedback sessions.

Kristen Anchor will share her excellent ideas about using VoiceThread to support student projects and engagement, along with tips, tricks, and thoughts for faculty considering adopting VoiceThread for their instruction moving forward. Please register and join us Thursday, October 21st, at Noon to learn more.

~ By Josh Abrams

Posted: September 17, 2021, 12:18 PM