Collaborative Learning Tools
VoiceThread is a web-based application that enables students and teachers to create and share a presentation. VoiceThread's robust commenting features provides users with an opportunity to have an asynchronous conversation around a presentation. EKU currently has a site license for VoiceThread, which enables all Faculty and Students to have an EKU VoiceThread account. VoiceThread is integrated within Blackboard, so login and sharing are seamless. Below are a few ideas of how you can begin utilizing VoiceThread within your course.
- Alternative to PowerPoint presentations for recordings weekly lessons. Students can comment directly on the lesson when they have questions about the content, allowing the Instructor to pinpoint comprehension problems before they negatively impact learning.
- Asynchronous group presentations allow students to creatively deliver a group project. Students are no longer hindered by time, distance, or text-only delivery when presenting their group projects.
- A new type of discussion board, VoiceThread enables an Instructor to prompt discussion around a slide that engages students in a more authentic type of discussion.
VoiceThread EKU Instructor and student accounts are created automatically through Blackboard upon initial access of a Voicethread link within a Blackboard course module. Users should be aware of the following:
- Users must access VoiceThread through each desired Blackboard course to have it added to their MyVoice list.
- After authenticating your account through Blackboard, you may access VoiceThread directly by browsing to www.VoiceThread.com.
Blogs are a web authoring tool that is available for anyone to use. There are a variety of platforms to choose from when beginning a blog. These tools range from the Blackboard blog tool to stand-alone platforms such as WordPress or Blogger. Blogs can be created by the Instructor, by an individual student, or by a group of users. The commenting feature on blogs allows student discussion to stimulate learning through social negotiation. Below are a few ideas of how you can begin using blogs within your online or blended course.
- Platform-friendly way of delivering content to students. Blogs can provide an alternative way to present course information, videos, and images to students in a platform independent and mobile-friendly way.
- Discussion around resources can occur on an Instructor produced blog or group class blog by having students comment on blog posts. Students can also become active participants in gathering resources and posting them on a group class blog.
- Students can journal their thoughts around exploratory learning activities or during a group project on individual student blogs. The instructor can encourage students to respond to their peers to further the learning process.
- Students can create a group blog to document their progress through a group project. This also creates a level of accountability as both the students and Instructor are conscious of how each team member is actively contributing to the project.
Here is an example from an EKU professor:
A wiki in BlackBoard is a tool instructors can use to create collaborative assignments. A wiki in a course can be set up for the whole class to use or it can be assigned for small groups to work together on a project. The wiki can be a shared document that all students can edit to complete an assignment.
Since the wiki is a novel tool for most students, it may be something they have to learn to use during the course. One way to introduce it to them is to use it for an simple activity early in the course. Having a simple activity early in the course gives them a chance to practice using the new wiki tool so that they’re more comfortable with it later in the course when it will be needed for a major group project.
Here is an example from an EKU course: