VoiceThread: New Ways to Comment

VoiceThread now offers new commenting options: direct replies, private replies, and threaded conversations.

Direct Reply to a Comment
If you are the owner or editor of a VoiceThread, may insert a comment directly after someone else’s comment on your slide, allowing you to help guide the conversation and give feedback directly to your participants.

VoiceThread Direct Reply

Private Reply to a Comment
The private reply feature allows you to start a private, two-way conversation with someone who has commented on a VoiceThread.  To start a new private conversation, or add to an existing one, click on the private reply button inside a person’s comment window.

VoiceThread Private Reply

Threaded Commenting
If you own a VoiceThread, you can turn on threaded commenting in your VoiceThread settings.  This allows your participants to start a separate comment thread that branches from the main conversation.  To start a new threaded conversation, click on the threaded comment button inside a person’s comment window.

VoiceThread Threaded Commenting

For an overview of these features, please see VoiceThread Commenting or watch the video overview:
VoiceThread Commenting Video ScreenshotReady to try the new commenting options? Log in to VoiceThread using your myLesley username and password.


Technology Innovation Grant: Infusing iPads into EEDUC 5104: Literature for Children and Young Adults

“Through the support of this Technology Innovation Grant I hope to further my own knowledge, improving my abilities to model effective and innovative technology integration for the practicing and prospective teachers in my courses.” Erika Dawes, Associate Professor, Literacy

Erika Dawes, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education is the most recent recipient of a Lesley University Technology Innovation Grant. The grant award will be used to purchase an iPad Pro (Wi-Fi 32GB), essential accessories and iTunes credits for purchasing apps. Access to the iPad Pro will allow Erika to test and evaluate content creation apps, prepare presentations and platforms for content exploration, as well as increase her competence with using a tablet as an instructional tool.

This spring, in her Children’s Literature course, Erika will be employing a set of 11 iPads (previously purchased for the GSOE with a Verizon grant) with the goal of trying to understand how this type of technology can improve the learning experience of teacher candidates while simultaneously serving as models for ways they could incorporate technology into their teaching methods and curriculum design.

EEDUC 5104: Literature for Children and Young Adults is a survey course focusing on resources for locating and evaluating literature across a wide range of genres and serves as an introduction to teaching strategies. Erika’s objective is for her students to become familiar with a range of content creation apps that can be used to encourage, facilitate, and share responses to literature and text sets. Her other goal is for the students to articulate an orientation toward the integration of technology in curriculum design and instruction. By incorporating the use of iPads, Erika plans to assess “whether a tech tool exists that would improve either [her] delivery of content or the students’ opportunity to process and innovate on content.” As part of this assessment Erika will be administering a pre and post course survey where she will ask the practicing and prospective teachers about the potential effectiveness of tech tool integrations. Lesley University sets aside dedicated funding each year to support faculty who are integrating technology into their academic work. The Technology Innovation Grant is open to Lesley University faculty and the application deadline is rolling. For details on grant program and the application process, contact eLearning and Instructional Support at elis@lesley.edu.

Fixing Broken Wiki Links

In this week’s Agent L episode, Gremlins in the System (GITS) try to undermine student collaboration by breaking links to wikis in myLesley courses. It’s Agent L to the rescue.

BenBen Friday: Agent L, it’s a disaster. GITS agent, NeoLuddite, has broken all the links to course wikis in myLesley. Look…

Error: Broken Course Link: Item does not exist in the system. The specified object was not found.

Agent L: What does he hope to accomplish?

Ben: NeoLuddite thinks technology is going to ruin education. By corrupting links to the wikis,  he hopes to stop students from collaborating online. We can’t let him win.


Agent L: Letting NeoLuddite win is not an option. The wiki links can be fixed.

Ben: How?

Agent L: It’s easy, Ben. We simply delete the old link to the wiki and create a new one.

Ben: But won’t that delete the wiki?!?agent L

Agent L:
Not at all. The wiki is still there with all the students’ work. We just need to
recreate the link to allow them to find it again.

Ben: How do we do that?

Agent L: Simple. Let’s go into a course and I’ll show you.

First, let’s delete the bad link. Click on the small gray arrow at the end of the wiki title and select Delete from the menu.

course wiki link     deletelink

Remember, this is only deleting the link, not the wiki.

Now, we can recreate the link. go to the Tools menu and select Wikis.

Tools menu

Select Link to Wiki to choose to create a link to an existing wiki and select the name of the wiki from the list. Then click Next.

select wiki link

Add a description or instructions for you students and click Submit. That’s all there is to it.

Ben: It’s working. I can access the wiki and see everyone’s contributions. It’s all there.

Agent L: Of course. NeoLuddite can’t get the best of us. We have technology at our disposal.


agent LSee the complete instructions at the Agent Support Site.  

Let’s Talk ‘Teaching for Tolerance’ on Twitter in Honor of International Day for Tolerance

Today – Monday, November 16 – is the International Day for Tolerance. Education, whether it happens in the classroom or online, is one of the crucial ways our society can advance tolerance and inclusion, so it’s more important than ever to acknowledge this occasion within our Lesley teaching community by having important conversations. Today, we invite you to join in the discussion about teaching for tolerance on Twitter.

eLIS will be Tweeting throughout the day from our account (@lesleyelis) using #ToleranceDay @lesley_u. Feel free to watch for new content, retweet us, or share your own experiences, ideas and opinions with the hashtag #ToleranceDay @lesley_u.

And don’t forget that the conversation doesn’t have to stop after today! Social media is an excellent tool for building and strengthening our institutional community. Join us on Twitter anytime to connect and collaborate with fellow faculty members throughout the university.

Learning Beyond the Classroom: Case Studies of Teaching and Learning with Social Media

This post is adapted from a poster presentation developed by eLIS staff and Lesley faculty for the New England Faculty Development Consortium (NEFDC) fall conference:

The use of social media in higher education teaching and learning is becoming increasingly common every year. Many faculty are enthusiastic about the prospect of using social media tools to extend classroom walls and create technology-enhanced learning activities that are relevant for their students’ lives. Against this backdrop, however, faculty need to be mindful of recent FERPA legislation, as well as consider the establishment of best practices for facilitating authentic, learner-centered social media experiences that are respectful of students’ privacy wishes.

Below are four case studies from Lesley University faculty members to offer further insight into best practices for teaching and learning with social media.

Communities of Practice


Real-World Inquiry


Professional Development


Instructor Communication



Although social media was used for different purposes in each of these cases, some common threads tie them together. The following are recommendations for teaching with social media based on the intersections in these cases.

  • Connect instructional use of social media to learning outcomes (Bosman& Zagenczyk 2011)
  • Provide very basic instructions for students to get started
  • Explain basic functionality and norms of the social media tool
  • Build specific activities into course design
  • Scaffold opportunities to interact with peers and others
  • Respect student privacy across student-led and instructor-led experiences
  • Educate students about privacy considerations and appropriate use
  • Articulate communication protocols and norms for each class
  • Plan for maintenance of communities in between class settings


Best Practices for Teaching with Social Media, Instructor-Led Assignments

  • Provide option to opt-out or alternate assignment
  • Provide option not to use real names or real locations
  • Link to basic tutorials
  • Let students know that they can delete accounts or “unfriend” in the end
  • Connect assignment to learning outcomes and assess learning according to rubric
  • Never provide individual feedback to students publicly

Best Practices for Student-led Social Media Use

  • Students should present themselves authentically and adhere to institution social media policy
  • Apply best practices of instructor-led assignments where applicable

Integrate the social media within the course site

  • Link the social media participation to the course in the LMS through dynamic RSS feed and/or links to the course hashtag

Next Steps

What did we gain from our inquiry? We were able to identify three key areas for further work.

Faculty Professional Development

  • Promote institutional community building with social media (upcoming: #ToleranceDay @lesley_u)
  • Provide workshop for faculty on analyzing social media platforms (January 2016)
  • Evaluate need to offer existing online seminar Using Twitter to Develop a PLN in Spring 2016

Enhancement of Institutional Policy

  • Extend existing Appropriate Use Policy with expanded Social Media Policy

Exchange of Curricular Materials Using Social Media

  • Create space for sharing sample assignments, rubrics and instructions amongst faculty teaching with social media

To learn more about initiatives related to teaching and learning with social media at Lesley, look us up on twitter @lesleyelis.


Bosman, L., & Zagenczyk, T. (2011). Revitalize your teaching: creative approaches to applying social media in the classroom. In B. White, I. King & P. Tsang (Eds.), (pp. 3-15) Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Couros, A. (2010). Developing personal learning networks for open and social learning. Emerging technologies in distance education, 109-128.

Englander, E. (2013). Bullying and cyberbullying: what every educator needs to know. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Herbert, M. (2006). Staying the course: a study in online student satisfaction and retention. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 9(4).

Journell, W., Ayers, C. A., & Beeson, M. W. (2014). Tweeting in the classroom: Twitter can be a smart instructional tool that links students with real-time information and connects them to authentic discussions beyond school walls. Phi Delta Kappan, 95(5), 53.

Sample, Mark. (2010, August 16) A framework for teaching with Twitter. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/a-framework-for-teaching-with-twitter/26223