Upcoming System Maintenance

Both myLesley and VoiceThread will be undergoing maintenance this weekend. Please plan accordingly.

myLesley

myLesley (Blackboard) will be performing maintenance on Friday, May 18th from 2:00 AM – 5 AM EDT (UTC -4). Downtime is not expected, but performance and system speed  may be impacted.

VoiceThread Maintenance

VoiceThread will be unavailable on Saturday, May 19th from 5:00 AM – 5:40 AM EDT (UTC -4) while Amazon Web Services performs system updates.

 

error

Why Can’t My Students Record a Comment on my Embedded VoiceThread?

Here’s the scenario. You created a VoiceThread and embedded it in your myLesley course. In the past, students have been able to click on the Add Comment button and add their VoiceThread comment without ever leaving myLesley. Unfortunately, some of your students are now receiving a message saying that the website doesn’t allow access to the camera/microphone. What happened?

Open embedded VoiceThread in a new tab

In short, Chrome updated its security restrictions. Chrome has now eliminated microphone and webcam permissions for iFrame embeds (the same type of code used to embed VoiceThread content). The good news is that clicking on Open in a new tab will open the VoiceThread up in a new tab where students can record their audio and video comments.

Please note that students are currently unable to embed content (such as VoiceThreads) in myLesley. This is a known issue with Blackboard. In the meantime, students will need to share a link to their content. Instructions may be found here: Sharing a VoiceThread in Your myLesley Course.

If you have any questions or run in to any issues, please email elis@lesley.edu.

error

VoiceThread Introduces a New HTML5 Version!

Say goodbye to Flash! VoiceThread has introduced a new HTML5 version, which runs in your browser without having to install and enable Flash. The new HTML5 version looks and feels the same as the Flash-based version, but now offers new features suck as adjustable playback speed, streamlined audio/video recording, and increased security.

How do I switch over to the new HTML5 version?

You may switch over to the new HTML5 version at any time. To begin, log in to VoiceThread.

Click on your email address on the top right-hand side of the page to open a menu. Select Display Preferences.
VT Display Preferences (screenshot)

In the Player Version section, select HTML5.
VT Preferences Select HTML5 (screenshot)

Refresh the page. You will now be upgraded to the new HTML5 version of VoiceThread.

Which web browsers are supported?

Chrome and Firefox are fully supported. Please be sure to use the most up-to-date version of the browser for the best experience.

HTML5 audio and video recording is NOT supported on Safari or Edge browsers at this time. You may use Safari or Edge to view a VoiceThread but you will not be record audio or video until the browsers have been updated to support this feature. Internet Explorer (IE) is not supported.

When is the deadline for moving to the HTML5 version?

You may switch over to the new HTML5 version any time between now and December 31, 2017. After that date, VoiceThread will automatically transition everyone to the new HTML5 version.

 

error

Fall Bootcamp 2017: Teaching and Learning with Technology

Are you interested in adding more instructional technology to your course but not sure where to start? Jump into your fall teaching with a half-day learning technology bootcamp to learn how to effectively use technology in your course.

The workshop will consist of sessions on using the learning management system (Blackboard) to enhance your face-to-face course and hands-on experience with some of the technology tools you can use to enhance your course. Topics covered will include:

  • Using myLesley (Blackboard) to communicate with your students
  • Adding content to your myLesley course
  • Adding Video to myLesley (Kaltura)
  • VoiceThread

Event Details:
Tuesday, August 15, 2017: 1:00-4:00 PM
University Hall, 3rd Floor

Space is limited in this workshop! REGISTER by August 8th to reserve your seat. Click here to register.

error

Adding Video to Your Online Discussions

Are your text-based online discussions seeming a bit dry? Do you feel like something is missing or that you aren’t getting a good sense of the people you are conversing with. Would you like to do a little community building in the early days of your course? Perhaps you should add a little video to your discussion.

The Advantages

It can be difficult to envision the real person behind the text. Video can make it easy to connect and to literally put a face to the idea. Not to mention the huge amount of information we convey with expression and tone. Being able to hear the other person’s voice and to see their face and expressions can allow you to get a fuller sense of their personality. Do they have an accent? Smile a lot? Have a lot of plants in their office? At times, it can even provide more insight into the content they are delivering. Did the humorous tone they delivered their comment with completely change the meaning?

The Disadvantages

One of the biggest disadvantages of video is that it’s time-based. A three-minute video takes three minutes to watch. Multiply that three minutes across many posts and it can take a bit of time to view everyone’s post. Also, unlike text-based discussion, you can’t quickly skim to review or find a detail. Many instructors set time limits on video posts. This makes the content more manageable and helps to cut down on rambling posts. Students should be encouraged to create a script or outline of the points they wish to address before recording.

earbuds with micVideo can also present accessibility issues. Hearing-impaired students will need captions or transcripts to participate. It’s also important to have good audio quality and for the person to speak clearly so they can be understood. Fortunately, the audio quality issue can usually be solved by using a microphone such as the earbuds with a microphone that come with many cellphones. 

You Don’t Have to Choose?

“Literacy comes in a variety of exciting flavors,” argues Joyce Valenza, of Rutgers University’s School of Communication. “In the course of a semester-long course, this is not a binary decision [between text and video]. In life, as in school, we read and write across platforms for multiple purposes, for a variety of audiences, using different strategies.”

When choosing to do a video or text-based discussion, it doesn’t have to be either/or, even in the same discussion. Providing information in different formats can provide varied, boost attention, and help reinforce the information delivered. Students can learn to present information in different modes or choose the method they feel the most comfortable with. We all learn in different ways. They can also use their cell phone cameras to share an experience or location via video and describe it in text.

How to Create a Video Discussion

There are a couple of options for having a video-based discussion board.

VoiceThread

VoiceThread is a multimedia discussion tool that allows students and instructors to have a conversation around media such as images, documents and videos. They can post comments on the “slide” using text, audio and video allowing them to express themselves in the mode they feel strongest.

 

To learn more about how to use VoiceThread in your course, check out the help resources.

Kaltura Media

Want to stick with the traditional discussion board in myLesley, but have the option for video. Try Kaltura. It’s integrated directly into myLesley. Anywhere you have access to the text editor you can create a video.

mashup tool in the myLesley text editor            record from webcam

Learn how to create a Kaltura post at our support site.

error