If you haven’t explored VoiceThread since last semester, you will be pleased to learn about the tool’s three new commenting features. Direct replies and threaded conversations make interaction more interactive and dynamic, while private replies allow participants to engage one another more discreetly.
Owners and editors of VoiceThreads are able to insert comments directly after someone else’s comment on a slide. For example, students can reply directly to the feedback left by their classmates or questions asked by their instructor. To do this, click on the direct reply icon inside a person’s comment window (it looks like an arrow). Your reply will display directly beneath the original comment, but bumped in slightly.
The threaded discussions feature makes VoiceThread more similar to an online discussion board, with comments branching off an original comment. This helps to keep robust back-and-forth conversations more organized.
To use this feature, you must enable it in Playback Settings.
Threaded comments are represented by a round identity image (as opposed to the usual square shape). To start a new threaded conversation, click on the threaded comment button inside a person’s comment window.
Threaded discussions would be particularly useful if you’d like to encourage multiple students to engage one another about a VoiceThread’s content. In contrast, a direct reply is a dialog between two people (though the interaction can be seen by anyone who has access to the VoiceThread). This would be best for asking a single question or offering praise.
The private reply feature allows you to start a private, two-way conversation with someone who has commented on a VoiceThread. Private comments are represented by a round identity image with a padlock icon. To start a new private conversation or add to an existing one, click on the private reply button inside a person’s comment window.
The private reply option could be especially useful if an instructor would like to include an assessment in a VoiceThread. For example, an instructor could leave a comment asking the students to reply to a question. To prevent the students from seeing one another’s responses, the instructor could request students use the private reply option. That would permit only the instructor to see the students’ comments and would allow him/her to respond directly to each student.
Let us know what you think about these new commenting features. We’d love to hear your ideas!