Giving authentic feedback to students through the use of audio and video is the subject of an Academic Technology Roundtable project by the School of Education’s Pat Thompson. Through a few of her roles in the School of Education including coordinating the Initial Administrative License program and also the Catholic Initial Administrative License program, where she works with students and degree candidates at a distance, Pat has found that text alone for feedback has not been the best and most efficient way of communicating. When she found out about Voicethread, an online communication tool that allows users to share and discuss documents, presentations, images, audio files and videos, she jumped on the chance to communicate in a much more authentic way with candidates that are in the midst of graduate work and their practicum experience. Pat’s project will focus on investigative research and implementation of Voicethread within curriculum for the coming year.
For me, it’s all about, I’ll pull this phrase from my past, rigor, relevance, and relationships. Starting in the reverse, the ability to provide a communication system that really strengthens your relationship with students individually and collectively, I think it will be an amazing value add.
complete transcript for this audio podcast is available in MS Word format
From Our Conversation:
Pat Thompson: I think since my time at the University of Portland starting in the fall of 2012, I’ve experienced a great need for greater authenticity and collaborative conversation with the candidates that I’m serving as the role of instructor and in some cases as coordinator. In some cases, distance is a real factor. For example, in teaching our graduate cohort members in both Guam and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where we do have educational masters programs currently, I find that text alone, in terms of feedback back to our candidates, has not been the best and most efficient way of communicating with them. Skype can be difficult at times because of the time difference and because of the busy nature.
When I learned about VoiceThread through Sam this last summer, I thought, ah ha, what a great opportunity to expand our horizons with authentic feedback through video, through audio, and through text that will provide a much better and a much richer two-way experience for communication with our candidates. The same thing, of course, is true with our Initial Administrative candidate whether they are in a public school or a private school, whether they’re near or far away, the ability to communicate in a much more authentic way with our candidates that are in the midst of the work and their practicum experience. I can see VoiceThread just being a wonderful opportunity for university supervisors in addition to myself to say connected.
Sam Williams: Just so that way our listeners know, and we’ll put this as part of the blog post as well, but it’s VoiceThread.com is what we’re looking at.
Pat Thompson: Yes.
Sam Williams: Your project is to do some investigative kind of research for us and actually some implementation and utilize this within your curriculum for this coming year. I’m excited about this opportunity. I would love to see this expanded. What we love about VoiceThread is the ability to be able to upload an artifact. A student can upload an artifact to an assignment if it’s connected up to Moodle or just on its own. You can have independent logins. Upload an artifact and then
your peers or your teacher can leave feedback in context. If I upload a pdf and I’m on page 5, somebody can get in there and leave feedback that’s either, it’s video feedback, audio feedback, text feedback. They can write and so it has that animated part of it as well. It really brings life to the feedback.
Pat Thompson: Right…
Sam Williams: What are some other ways that you feel like VoiceThread can help you or others within the School of Education?
Pat Thompson: That’s a very important question. I am one of a large group of very qualified and amazing professors in the School of Education. While I can’t speak for them, I can only imagine that they will be fully prepared to start seeing what the benefits could be. The fact that I am able to pilot this from a practitioner’s point of view I think will be extremely helpful for future individuals like myself that bring that perspective, but for others who have had years within the research. I can only encourage them to think creatively and out of the box about how the VoiceThread phenomenon can be a great opportunity for them to provide even greater authenticity and connectivity within the courses that they’re teaching.
I would say, I would stretch this to even beyond the School of Education to other departments and schools within the University of Portland as a whole. I can only encourage us to think about that. From everything I’ve learned so far, it will be a fairly simple process with full integration with Moodle. It will not take a technology expert necessarily as much as someone who’s just willing to take the risk and really start seeing how this can be a day-to-day method even with students who are present on campus and our undergraduate programs to provide some additional assistance in outreach and communication.
For more information about the tech tool Pat will be using for her Academic Technology Roundtable project visit Voicethread.com