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What is VoiceThread?

A VoiceThread is a collaborative, interactive, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos. It allows people to navigate through the slides and leave comments in several ways: using voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, or video (via a webcam). Users can also doodle while commenting (drawing annotation overlays).

VoiceThread is an application that runs on Adobe Flash, inside your web browser. Aside from Adobe Flash, there is no software to download, install, or update. VoiceThread allows you to place collections of media like images, videos, documents, and presentations at the center of a conversation. These conversations are not live; they are asynchronous, taking place whenever and wherever it's convenient for people to participate. A VoiceThread allows people to have conversations and to make comments using any mix of text, a microphone, a webcam, a telephone, or uploading an audio file. Some of the features of VoiceThread are incompatible with accessibility success criteria, however the application has a “Universal” version that is made for screen readers: VoiceThread Universal. In addition, VoiceThread allows for closed captioning and exporting a video archive that can be distributed alongside a separate, corresponding text-only transcript.

Reading about VoiceThread is fine, but you may find you understand the tool better if you watch this introduction (embedded below):

VoiceThread Overview

 or view some VoiceThread examples.


Why VoiceThread?

VoiceThread has two distinct advantages for classes that are communicating and collaborating across counties, countries or continents:

1.    VoiceThread is Asynchronous:  That means that users can work on and enjoy VoiceThread presentations at any time—even if their classmates are sleeping across the country. VoiceThread will allow you to play back recorded comments in the order they were left by others, allowing you to watch the entire conversation unfold, in a short amount of time, even if the comments were recorded hours apart.

2.    VoiceThread is Engaging:  Sometimes working with partners or writing responses on a traditional discussion board can be a little dry.  After all, email and discussion boards are nothing more than written text. VoiceThread gives users visual stimulus to talk about and has the distinct advantage of being able to actually hear one another speak. This makes digital communication through VoiceThread much more personal.


How it's being used at JHSPH (and other JHU Schools)

Johns Hopkins currently has a license for VoiceThread, so all students and faculty can access this tool free of charge.  By using the JHU-specific VoiceThread address ( you will be prompted to use your JHED ID to log in.  If you have a JHED ID, you automatically have  a VoiceThread account. 

VoiceThread is being used at JHSPH both for lecture delivery (voice over PowerPoint) and for student activities. Currently, several online courses are using it for lecture supplements where the high quality video is exported as an MP4 and uploaded (with a transcript) into CoursePlus. Faculty are also using it for group and individual student presentations, and a different discussion format where comments are made right on top of the presented (lecture) content.  In addition, some courses (including the incoming MPH cohort) use VoiceThread in a Face-to-Face course as an introductory assignment, and there are plans to use VoiceThread to document Field Placement activities. 

Learn a bit more about how VoiceThread is being used at JHSPH in this November 2016 recording of a CTL Workshop - "VoiceThread: A Tale of Success". The workshop's accompanying PowerPoint (in PDF format) can also be viewed.

For specific examples of VoiceThread in use at JHSPH, go to the Use Cases page.


Help with VoiceThread

First, check out the other VoiceThread pages in our CTL Teaching Toolkit.  There is a lot of information for students, faculty, and TAs: 

VoiceThread Pages in our Toolkit:  Faculty/TA How-To | Student How-To | Tips | FAQ | Use Cases

If you are having general issues loading the VoiceThread pages, you may need to upgrade or install Adobe Flash Player. This is a free browser plug-in. You can find out which version you are currently using and upgrade at this website:

If you find yourself wondering how to do something inside of VoiceThread that's not covered in one of our Toolkit pages (above), please visit the company's support site

If you are having issues logging in to the JHU enterprise VoiceThread site ( with your JHED ID, or through a link in CoursePlus, you may have already created a generic VoiceThread account using your JHU email address. Try logging into with your university email address or any username you may recall (even if you have to click on the link for "Need password?" because you can't remember what you may have last used!). If you're able to log into successfully, manage your account to check your email address. If the email address is your university email address, try changing it to a different address (for example, a Gmail address). Then, having removed your university email address from the generic VoiceThread account, sign out of VoiceThread completely. Close your browser. Go back to and try to log in again with your JHED ID.

After visiting the VoiceThread Help site, if you still need assistance, contact CTLHelp and we will be happy work directly with you to try and resolve any questions.


Other Resources for VoiceThread use in Educational Settings

Websites/Wikis for Educators using VoiceThread: