What’s up with VoiceThread Comments?

vt_photosYou will find new commenting features in VoiceThread today! One of the wonderful things about VoiceThread is how easy it is to have conversations around media. Now it’s easier than ever to have this collaboration among instructors and students with the new Private, Direct, and Threaded Comments!

Check out this video from VoiceThread to learn all about these great, new features!

Posting Comments

To post a comment to someone, click on their identity image and select whether you wish to make a private, direct, or threaded comment. You will then see a variation of the following image where you select the comment option to use:


Private Comments

vt_private_commentsPrivate replies allow you to begin a private conversation with someone who has commented on a VoiceThread. They are hidden, two-way conversations. Private comments are represented by a rounded identity image with a padlock icon.

To start or reply to a Private conversation, click on the padlock:


See more on private replies.


Direct Comments

vt_direct_commentsEditors of a VT may insert comments directly after someone’s comment to help guide the conversation and provide feedback to participants.

To insert Direct comments, click on the left-pointing arrow:


See more on direct reply comments.

Threaded Comments

vt_threaded_commentsThreaded comments allows participants to start separate conversations that branch out from the main conversation channel. They are represented by a round identity image.

To start a Threaded conversation, click on the downward, right-pointing arrow:


See more on threaded comments.

Images courtesy of VoiceThread.

Spring 2016 Rosters now in Sakai

Apple blossoms colour corrected.

CC image on flickr

Happy Fall Break! With some off, it’s the perfect time to start preparing for next semester because Spring 2016 Rosters are now in Sakai! Create your course site now to get that head start.

Remember that you must be listed as one of the following for your course rosters to create your Sakai course sites. Teaching Assistants in ConnectCarolina cannot create course sites–

  • Primary Instructor
  • Secondary Instructor
  • Proxy
  • Dean’s Designate

Please have your departmental course scheduler list you as the instructor for each course roster you are teaching in ConnectCarolina. You will need to wait up to 24 hours for this to be updated in Sakai.

Create Course Site

Get started in My Workspace > Worksite Setup to create your course site! See the following tutorial for step-by-step instructions:

Reuse Course Material

If you are teaching the same course and want to reuse old course material, you can easily do so as you are creating your course site or any time after the site has been created. You have three options:

  1. Re-use Material from Other Sites You Own
  2. Import from Site
  3. Copy specific items into Resources from other sites

See Duplicate your content between Sakai sites for full details.

Contact the ITRC Help Desk at help.unc.edu or 962-HELP if you have any questions. Have a safe Fall Break!

Free access to 3,800+ video tutorials on Lynda.com

lynda-logoFor many of you, Lynda.com is already bookmarked on your browser. If it is not, now is your chance to learn why it should be. For starters, it’s free. Prior to December 2014, Lynda.com was only available to faculty and staff, but through a collaboration with ITS and Student Government’s Web & Communications team, students now have access to the plethora of training videos hosted on Lynda.com as well.

Lynda.com is a leading online learning company that helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals…The company also provides German, French and Spanish language content under the video2brain brand name. (lynda.com/aboutus)

With free access to over 3,800 video courses taught by industry experts, working professionals, and veteran teachers, it is no wonder that Lynda.com is a leader in online learning. They offer self-paced streaming video courses that range in technical skills and subject matter. They have topics ranging from professional development, software training, creative techniques, and management strategies. Most of the videos have supplemental exercise files you can download and use while watching the instructional videos. The library features software from the following and much more:

  • Adobe
  • Apple
  • HTML
  • Java
  • Microsoft
  • SPSS
  • MySQL

See more details on the UNC Lynda.com webpage.

Accessing Lynda.com

To access Lynda.com, go to the UNC Lynda.com sign-in page.

Lynda.com Stats for UNC

Check out these stats on Lynda.com usage at UNC!

Top 10 Courses Viewed on Lynda.com by UNC-Chapel Hill

1. Excel 2013 Essential Training 6. Git Essential Training
2. Illustrator CC Essential Training (2015) 7. Foundations of Programming: Fundamentals
3. WordPress Essential Training 8. Project Management Simplified
4. Access 2013 Essential Training 9. HTML Essential Training
5. Illustrator CS6 Essential Training 10. SharePoint Online Essential Training

In total for UNC, 779 exercise files have been downloaded in the past 6 months. During that same period, almost 700 certificates of completion have been issued to individuals completing a course on Lynda.com.

lynda.com stats imageJoin the nearly 4,000 people at Carolina who have already started using Lynda.com today!

Connect with Lynda.com

twitter  facebook logo  linkedin

Mirroring360 Update Supports iOS 9 in Classrooms

Last semester, Classroom Hotline upgraded classrooms across campus with the capability to wirelessly project personal devices using Mirroring360 by Splashtop®. Have you recently updated your device to iOS 9? You may have had some trouble mirroring your Apple device in the classroom, but there is good news. Mirroring360 has been updated in classrooms to version 1.5 to support screen mirroring on iOS 9 Apple devices! All you need to do is re-arm the license key on your Apple devices to continue mirroring your content.

Why might you want to mirror your device in the classroom?

  • Instructors and students can share any content from their devices
  • Turn students into presenters without moving from their seats
  • Mirror up to 4 devices simultaneously for comparison and collaboration

Check out the Mirroring360 Brochure to see more features and how it works!

Re-arm Mirroring360 License Key

1. Locate new grey Mirroring360 icon in system tray on computer

m360_key_012. Right-click on icon and select Settings

m360_key_023. Select License button

m360_key_034. Click Activate

m360_key_045. Verify both Mirroring services are running, and you’re all set!

m360_key_05You can also download these instructions here. Contact Classroom Hotline if you have any questions by picking up the red telephone in your classroom or calling 919-962-6702!

NOTE: See new full instructions here (updated November 2015)

Ten Quick Tips for Sakai


CC image by Sappymoosetree on flickr

We are a little over three weeks into the Fall 2015 Semester and already seeing a lot of Sakai activity! 67% of Faculty members listed as instructors in ConnectCarolina for this semester have already created at least one course site in Sakai, which brings in 99,000+ students enrolled in Sakai course sites so far–wow!

To help make using Sakai easier for so many users, here are 10 quick tips you may not have known about Sakai:

1. Syllabus light bulb must be lit to indicate syllabus item is published to students


2. Click reset arrows to refresh tool you are in instead of browser’s back/forward buttons


3. Select Student in the View Site As menu to check what students see in your site


4. Restore deleted Resources through the Recycle Bin within 30 days


5. Don’t forget to click on paste icon next to folder you want to copy/move items into


6. Quickly create link in left course menu for item in Resources through Actions menu > Make Site Page


7. Organize left course menu through Site Info > Page Order


8. Set Email Notifications to High to email all site members a notification for item you posted, such as Announcements and Resources


9. Verify Gradebook Items are released and included in course grade calculations


10. Content not appearing? Disable web browser’s mixed content blocker


Announcements & Updates

Also be sure to check the Sakai Homepage and Message of The Day announcement areas for notices, updates, upcoming maintenance outages, and other helpful tips and workshops around campus. Please note our regular maintenance window is Thursday mornings from 5 AM until 7 AM.

Please contact the ITRC Help Desk at help.unc.edu if you have any questions.

Get Sakai Help Aug 17-18

pixabay_510470It’s hard to believe but the Fall Semester is here! Classes begin next week, so now is the time to get your course content on Sakai for students to access.

We are holding two workshops next week to provide you with any Sakai assistance you might need to get started with the semester. The Sakai 10 Upgrade back in May brought several enhancements to the system, so we encourage you to attend a workshop to familiarize yourself with the new features.

Sakai Workshops: Aug 17 & 18

Intro to Teaching in Sakai [Register]
Monday, August 17
UL 124

Are you a new instructor and want to teach in Sakai? Do you need a refresher on setting up your course site? Join us for a *crash course* on teaching in Sakai! We’ll help you–

  • Create your course site
  • Upload and organize your course content
  • Figure out the best way to communicate with your students
  • Get an overview of the Gradebook

We recommend having your departmental course scheduler list you as the instructor of course in ConnectCarolina before attending this workshop. Please note that TAs in ConnectCarolina cannot create Sakai course sites.

Drop in for Sakai Help [Register]
Tuesday, August 18
UL 124

Unable to attend the crash course on Monday or have other Sakai questions? Drop in any time between 10am and 11:30am on Tuesday to get help from a Sakai expert!

Create Course Site Now

Don’t have time to stop by the Undergraduate Library next week? Create your course site now in the comfort of your home! Check out our previous post on creating your Fall site with tips on reusing previous course content.

Don’t forget to publish your site!

Get Sakai Help

If you can’t make it to our workshops, there are plenty of ways to get help:

Let us know how we may help you. Good luck with the start of the semester!

Welcome to the New VoiceThread

Welcome to the New VoiceThread! We just upgraded to the newest VT version, which comes with many great, new features, including several options for personalizing your VoiceThread experience and an enhanced conversation channel. Other improvements have also been added to the way you share VoiceThreads, which you will now see in the upgraded system!

Create VoiceThread

vt_create_drag_dropBefore sharing, you must first create your VoiceThread, which also has some new features. You can now drag-and-drop in files to upload into a VT!

You can still select to upload files from your computer, webcam, media sources, and URL if you prefer. Don’t forget that you can also drag slides to a new position after they have uploaded.

Share VoiceThread

While the workflow is the same for sharing VoiceThreads, the upgraded platform is much simpler. The new setup makes it easier to see who you’re granting permission to, whether that is an entire Group, a specific user in a Group, or an individual Contact, and if they can view, comment on, and/or edit your VoiceThread.


To quickly see at-a-glance who already has access to the VoiceThread and edit permissions, click on the new “Who has access” tab.


Bulk-actions for Groups

As many people have requested, you can now bulk-share (and bulk-delete) multiple VoiceThreads with a Group at once! When viewing your VoiceThreads, check off the VTs you want to share and click on the “Share” option from the pop-up window or simply drag-and-drop them onto the name of a Group from your left sidebar menu. You will then select the permissions from another pop-up window for that Group. It’s that easy!


There are also new Group pages that include all the VoiceThreads available to a Group, which you can access by clicking on the name of the Group from the left sidebar menu. You can add a header to the top of this page to help set a tone for your Group. To direct members to this Group view, simply click on the share icon next to the name of the Group from the header to copy the URL to be shared.


Screenshots taken from What’s new with the New VoiceThread.

We hope you are excited about this new VoiceThread as it is much simpler to use and learn. Check it out at voicethread.unc.edu!

Enhanced Conversation Channel with VoiceThread Upgrade

The July 30 VoiceThread Upgrade is just around the corner! One of the enhancements you will see is an improved design of the conversation channel. Here are the details!


One of the first things you’ll notice is that all comments will be aligned on just one side of the VoiceThread instead of various comments on both sides of the media, making it easier to distinguish the order of comments. The comments column scrolls down indefinitely so you can find your comments. Each comment also has its own avatar, including for the same person. This is especially helpful when needing to reorder comments, which is now easier than ever. Simply drag and drop the comment into its new position.

vt_com_reorderOn a side note, you can also easily reorder the slides. When you click on the postcard-view icon in the bottom right, you can drag and drop the slide to its new position.


As commonly requested, long text comments will be better supported in the new VoiceThread platform. You can scroll the comments indefinitely, resize the window, and even undock and move the comment around your screen!

vt_com_undockScreenshots taken from What’s new with the New VoiceThread.

Don’t forget! The upgrade is happening next week on Thursday, July 30!

Personalize Your VoiceThread Experience

The VoiceThread Upgrade is 2 weeks away! Last month we announced improvements coming to VoiceThread on July 30, including ways to personalize your VoiceThread Home page. Here is that update in more detail!

Personalize Your VoiceThread Experience

The new VT Home page replaces the current My VoiceThread tab and gives more options on personalizing your VT experience.

Display Preference: Light vs Dark


View Preference: Thumbnails vs List




The VT Upgrade will provide maximum viewing space for VoiceThreads with a collapsible left sidebar menu and a responsive individual VT view, which means there will be more room for your media to grow. If you use VoiceThread for your course, you will notice that the upgraded version will feel very similar to VoiceThread within Sakai, making the transition even easier!

Screenshots taken from What’s new with the New VoiceThread.

VoiceThread Maintenance: August 1 | 12-2 AM

VoiceThread will be performing system updates on Saturday, August 1, from 12 AM until 2 AM. Voicethread will be unavailable from 12-1 AM and available but with slow performance from 1-2 AM.

August 1 VoiceThread Maintenance
VoiceThread unavailable: 12 AM – 1 AM
VoiceThread available with slow service: 1 AM – 2 AM

Next week you’ll get a sneak peek into what’s new with sharing and commenting on VoiceThreads. Stay tuned!

Help Your Online Students Succeed

Our friends at Durham Tech recently wrote a blog post entitled How can you help your (online) students succeed?, referencing a 2015 Eduventures study on Why Online Students Succeed. We thought this was an excellent post and wanted to share their ideas and other UNC resources available to help students!

Eduventures’ 2015 Online Student Survey

As stated on their website, Eduventures fielded 28,000 students in the spring of 2015, most of whom were adult learners over the age of 25, and pursuing a degree or certificate program online. The surveyed students assessed their academic performance to date and identified specific factors contributing to their high or low performance. Here are the study’s findings:

High Performing (22,437 students):

  • Clear course objectives/expectations – 70%
  • Easy-to-use technology – 64%
  • Courses are right pace – 54%
  • Format matches their learning style – 44%
  • Attention from faculty – 44%

Low Performing (3,658 students):

  • Distracted by family/personal obligations – 65%
  • Too fast/can’t keep up – 20%
  • Lack of interest/motivation – 18%

Faculty: What you can do to help

While it is ultimately up to the student to succeed in class, there are several things we can do to help and guide them along the way:

Students: How to get help

It is very important to stay on top of your course work, so if you feel as though you are falling behind, do not wait to seek help! In addition to working with your instructor or classmates, also try these methods:

Additional Resources

Thanks for sharing those great tips, Durham Tech!