Using VoiceThread to provide accessible weekly introductions to key course content

Teaching and learning problem/challenge?

We needed to provide our students with a short weekly introduction to course unit content which would be accessible, flexible and personal.

What was the solution?

We created a weekly VoiceThread in Blackboard. Each VoiceThread was focused on a simplified PowerPoint that introduced the subject content for the week. The VoiceThread included short video files of the tutor speaking, with one video file for each PowerPoint slide. The video introductions were carefully focused on individual slides, and delivered in accessible language.

Crucially, the tutor videos were not ‘scripted’ and purposefully informal (including gestures and occasional humour) so to avoid the ‘talking head’ phenomenon. The students could, at a time of their choosing, view the VoiceThread at their own pace, viewing the slides and videos in linear sequence, or return to particular slides/videos.

How successful was the solution?

In their interaction with the course unit tutors, and in the end-of semester Unit Surveys, the students indicated that they enjoyed watching the VoiceThreads. They said it gave them an accessible (easy) introduction to the week’s topic, they valued the ability to watch individual slides/videos again (without having to search through a single massive video file) and they also liked the unscripted nature of the videos, which made the tutor more of an individual/real person.

See it in action in this video:

Evaluation / Student Feedback

From Unit Surveys:-

The voicethread is a helpful way to help us think, and we can review it at any time we want.

Voicethread PPTs, because they can help me have a brief understanding of the topic in advance with an oral explanation.

The flipped classroom approach which includes watching the VT [VoiceThread] before sessions works well for me.

The Voice Threat PPTs are really useful, especially with Juup’s short videos. Please keep it.


If implemented as described here, VoiceThread PPTs accompanied by videos by the tutor, has the following benefits:-

  • Accessible introduction to course content
  • Flexible access for students to key course content
  • A personalised delivery of content (provided videos are unscripted)
  • A possible component of a flipped classroom approach
Top Tips

Be natural and unscripted when recording the short videos.


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School: Environment, Education and Development

Discipline: Language Learning (TESOL)

Academics: Juup Stelma and Nahielly Palacios

Course: EDUC70091 Psychology of Language Learning

Cohort Size: 135

Themes: Teaching Ideas, Enhancing learning with technology

Visit our VoiceThread Hub

Visit our VoiceThread Hub






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