Interactive Discussions With VoiceThread

Move over text-based discussion board! With VoiceThread you can create multimedia, interactive, threaded discussions that take online discussions to a whole new level. With built-in audio and video commenting features, your students can see and hear each other, closing virtual distance and creating more immediate presence.

Try it in your course using the step-by-step instructions below. But first, be sure to customize your photo identity to better establish your online presence.

Creating an interactive VoiceThread discussion in Blackboard only takes five steps:

  1. Create and configure a VoiceThread link.
  2. Create a VoiceThread by uploading a PDF.
  3. Add more slides to your discussion, if needed.
  4. Introduce the discussion with a comment.
  5. Share your discussion with the class.

Step 1: Create and Configure a VoiceThread Link

Decide on a content area where you would like your VoiceThread to appear. For example: Weekly Sessions or Assignments. Note: You will not be able to create a VoiceThread link in the standard Discussion Board. Perhaps create a separate content area called VoiceThread Discussions. Then:

  1. Hover over Build Content.
  2. Click UMB VoiceThread.
  3. On the Create UMB VoiceThread screen, name your link.
  4. Click Submit.
  5. Find and click on your VoiceThread in the content area menu.
  6. DO NOT click the Launch Icon that appears. Wait for the link to launch automatically.
  7. On the VoiceThread setup screen click Individual VoiceThread.
showing locations for step one. UMB VoiceThread is under the Build Content menu. Name and Submit are on the Create UMB VoiceThread page.

Step 2: Create a VoiceThread

  1. In the upper left corner of the screen, click on Create new VoiceThread. Note: If you have already created VoiceThreads, they will appear below the Create new VoiceThread button.
  2. Click Add Media.
  3. Click My Computer, and select a file to upload. Note: If uploading a PowerPoint presentation, be sure to save it as a PDF before uploading to VoiceThread.
  4. While your file is uploading, Name your VoiceThread and add an optional description.
  5. Click Save.
showing locations for step two. Both Title box and Save button are on the Thread Settings page.

Step 3: Add More Slides to Your Discussion, If Needed

The initial image or PowerPoint PDF uploaded creates your VoiceThread, but you may always add more slides by doing the following:

  1. Click the large + next to your slides.
  2. Click My Computer and select a new slide to add.
showing the locations for step three.

Step 4: Introduce Discussion

This is where you introduce yourself and the Discussion activity and provide instruction for participation for your students, using the audio and video commenting features.

  1. To begin the narration, click Comment.
  2. Click the Comment Bubble in the bottom center of the slide to open the Commenting Fan.
  3. Click either the Microphone Icon to leave an audio comment or the Video Icon to leave a video comment. Note: A security prompt may appear. Click Allow.
  4. During recording, you may use the Colored Pencil feature to annotate the slide while commenting. Click Fade to toggle whether the pencil “markings” stay or slowly fade from view.
  5. When you are done recording, click Stop Recording.
  6. The comment automatically begins playing back. If you are satisfied with your comment, click Save. If not, click Cancel to record a new comment.
  7. Click the Arrow in the lower right corner to advance to the next slide. Note: Start a new comment on each slide. Follow this process: Comment, Save, Advance to the next slide, repeat. Make sure to save before advancing to the next slide.
showing the locations for step four. With a slide open, the Comment Fan appears after clicking the comment icon, and the colored pencils appear during recording.

5. Share Discussion

Once the discussion is shared, it will be accessible through the link you created in Blackboard. When a student clicks the link, the VoiceThread will display, and your students will be able to participate in your discussion.

  1. Click the X in the upper right corner to close your VoiceThread.
  2. To share your VoiceThread with your Blackboard course, click Share with class.
  3. To finalize the sharing, click Share with Class again.
  4. To return to your Blackboard course, click Return to course.

Now students may contribute to the discussion. For instructions on student participation, see the Student Comment Guide.

showing the locations for step five.

Get Help

Questions? Contact us at or visit the VoiceThread Official Help Site.