VoiceThread as Paper Review

VoiceThread can be a great way to give feedback on your students’ papers using the voice and video commenting features. In this way, VoiceThread can simulate a face-to-face workshop environment.

The steps to set up a paper review VoiceThread are as follows:

  1. Instructor: Set up a VoiceThread link in Blackboard.
  2. Student: Upload your paper as a PDF.
  3. Instructor: Review the student’s paper using voice or video commenting.

Step 1: Create and Configure a VoiceThread Link

Decide on a content area where you would like your paper review VoiceThread to appear. For example: Weekly Sessions or Assignments. 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 VT Home.

This configures your link. You may return to your blackboard course by clicking the Home Icon  in the top left corner of the screen.

 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: Have the Students Upload their Papers to VoiceThread

For complete instructions, go to the Student Paper Upload Guide.

Step 3: Open a Student Paper in VoiceThread


  1. Find and click the Paper Review VoiceThread link in Blackboard.
  2. DO NOT click the Launch icon that appears. Wait for the link to launch automatically.
  3. Find and click a student’s paper on the VT Home Screen.
showing the locations for step three.

Step 4: Comment on the Student’s Paper

  1. Click the Comment Bubble in the bottom center of the slide to open the Commenting Fan. Note: To start commenting on a different page, use the Arrows in the lower right corner (6).
  2. 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.
  3. During recording, you may use the Colored Pencil feature to annotate on the page while commenting. Click Fade to toggle whether the pencil “markings” stay or slowly fade from view.
  4. When you are done recording, click Stop Recording.
  5. The comment automatically begins playing back. If you are satisfied with your comment, click Save. If not, click Cancel to record a new comment.
  6. Click the Arrow in the lower right corner to advance to the next page. 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.

Step 5: Notify Students of Completion

The best practice is to complete comments on all student papers and then make an Announcement in Blackboard. Or, send out a course email informing everyone they may now review your comments in VoiceThread.