Increasing Student Interaction & Engagement with VoiceThread

-By Mark Prestopnik, Assistant Director of Online Teaching and Learning

voicethread-logoWhy Use VoiceThread?

Students often indicate that Blackboard course sites are too text heavy. Students and faculty remark that they wish there were alternative mediums available to develop concepts and interact with classmates aside from text based discussion forums.

One of our objectives as a teaching and learning unit is to counter this narrative and present faculty with a range of options to deliver content in a way that helps to better engage students and achieve desirable learning outcomes.

This summer, Duquesne instructors began using VoiceThread, an easy-to-use tool for creating dynamic learning experiences using voice, video, and media. Instructors are using VoiceThread for course introductions, unit lectures that students can respond to, as well as student voice and video projects.

How to Use VoiceThread

Here at Duquesne, VoiceThread can be added to any Blackboard site. It is an asynchrounous tool, so there is no need for everyone to log on at the same time. Instead, the instructor adds the initial media, which could be something as simple as an image (for example a cell structure in a biology course), a PowerPoint presentation, or a host of other options. Next, the instructor adds his or her comments through video or voice to begin the discussion. The instructor then makes the presentation available. Students view the content and add comments of their own using voice, video, or text. Conversations in VoiceThread allow instructors and students to showcase their personality and better connect with each other to develop a more cohesive community of learners to advance learning.

Not a Duquesne instructor? VoiceThread can be used outside of Blackboard. Simply sign up for a free account at

Ideas for Using VoiceThread

voicethread-megaphoneVoiceThread can be used in countless ways. Use it to replace a traditional, text-only discussion board, record a mini-lecture, or as a tool for class introductions. Students can also create their own presentations to share with classmates, or, with only the instructor. Threaded conversations, grade center integration, and comment moderation are just a few of the additional features that VoiceThread offers. Visit The VoiceThread Blog for more ideas.

Learn More

Want to learn more about integrating VoiceThread into your course here at Duquesne? Visit our Training Calendar to sign up for a hands-on workshop where instructors can practice using VoiceThread and brainstorm ways that the tool can be used to enhance student learning.

Duquesne faculty can also access VoiceThread resources by visiting the Blackboard Help tab and selecting Communication Tools.

We encourage you to dive right in and explore VoiceThread! This is a great way to enliven your course and make learning more engaging for your students.


One thought on “Increasing Student Interaction & Engagement with VoiceThread

  1. I look forward to learning more about Voice Thread. It looks like an excellent way to add other modalities to text in online learning. Can’t attend Oct 12 training, but will be looking for future sessions. Laurel W-M

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