VoiceThread Old and New Versions Comparison

Introduction to VoiceThread

VoiceThread (VT) is a cloud-based multimedia application to develop rich presentations that can be shared and commented on. Both instructors and students have access to the University of Maryland (UMD) VT. Instructors can develop assignments in which students can create presentations from a variety of media. PowerPoint presentations, documents, images, audio files and videos can be used to create an assignment. Commenting can be done with text, audio, telephone, webcams or file uploads. Access to VT is made through an ELMS-Canvas module or assignment. VoiceThread assignments are integrated with the ELMS-Canvas gradebook.

New and old version comparison

VoiceThread went through a permanent transition on June 30,2021. This video describes the new features: Video: Building New Assignments in VoiceThread

Differences between the old and new versions of VoiceThread


Old version

New version

Content organization

After submission, the students’ VT was retained in their account. It was available for continued editing.

The assignment controls all VT content associated with it. Once you use VT for an assignment, it will no longer be visible on your VT Home Page. The assignment is the only place instructors and students can see it.


Assignment builders have minimal directions on a brown interface. There are buttons to continue but the user does not know the next step.

Streamlined creation process for building a VT within the assignment setup process.


Students set Playback Settings for their VT and instructor cannot change this feature. For example, students can opt not to allow text comments and no one could leave text comments on their VT.

Instructors can dictate the playback settings for all VTs when students are completing a Create a VoiceThread assignment type. Students cannot override these settings.


Instructor can leave comments but cannot edit VT unless student gives editing privileges to them.

Instructors automatically have edit access to all student-created VT for a Create a VoiceThread assignment type.


Frequently, students would not select the Share box when completing their VT, and no one (not even the instructor) could view their VT.

Instructors determine whether or not other students can see one another’s submissions. It’s no longer up to the student to remember to share when submitting.

Peer review

For Peer Review, two assignment links are needed – a graded VT and a non-graded course view. Students could not see each other’s submissions in Create a VoiceThread.

Student Gallery allows students to see all student VT submissions for a single assignment in a single collection, separated from the other assignments. No more need to use a second Course View link to have students view and comment on their peers’ submissions! NOTE: The current limitation is that students can’t comment on their own Voice Threads in the Student Gallery, but that will be changing soon.


Message to students is Assignment Submitted – Return to course and cannot be edited.

Customize your success messaging for students.

Timed release

Access to a VT assignment is controlled by the availability dates in the ELMS-Canvas assignment.

Set start dates and due dates. Students will not be able to see your assignment outside of that time range. This allows you to create assignments well before you want students to see them.

Assessment style

Grade by percentage only.

Grade by percentage or pass/fail. (Point grading coming soon!)

Student review

By default, students see their own submission.

Decide whether or not students are allowed to see their own submission after they’ve submitted successfully.

New criteria

No limit to the number of comments added to a VT. There could be 2 or 50 on one VT. Only the minimum number of comments defined.

Require students to record a set number of comments on the Create a VoiceThread and Commenting assignment types.

More new criteria

Only comments are tabulated.

Watch assignments tabulate watching of central media and comments, rather than just comments.


Students have editing control over their VT, even after assignment submission. This may lead to grading the wrong version.

After students submit, they will not be permitted to make any alterations to their submission unless you’ve allowed them to resubmit.