Add VoiceThreads to an ELMS-Canvas Course for Instructors

Table of contents

VoiceThread (VT) is a cloud-based presentation application. Instructors can develop assignments in which students can upload, share and comment on presentations created 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 VoiceThread is made through an ELMS-Canvas module or assignment. VoiceThread assignments are integrated with the ELMS-Canvas gradebook.

NOTE: VoiceThread assignments have been updated on June30, 2021. For new features, see Building New Assignments in VoiceThread (Video).


There are 2 VoiceThread assignment groups you can add to your course: Non-graded and Graded. There are 3 VoiceThread assignment types in each group. See table below.


                               Added to Modules link


Added to Assignments link





Course View

All VT in that course

Create a VoiceThread

Students submit a VT they created.

VT Home

The VT Home of the person logging in.

Submit a Comment

Students comment on an instructors VT or one selected by the instructor.


Individual VT

Points to one VT for students to view.

Watch a VT

Students watch the instructor's VT in its entirety.


Steps to adding VoiceThread in ELMS-Canvas

It is important to note that that there are 2 steps in adding a VoiceThread Assignment to your ELMS course.

  1. Both Graded and Non-Graded VoiceThreads are first added to an ELMS-Canvas course as an external tool assignment.
  2. Next, the VoiceThread assignment is configured on the VT server .In ELMS-Canvas, the Submission Type is “External Tool” and “External Tool Option” is VoiceThread.

Adding a VoiceThread Assignment to your course

Graded Assignments must be added as an “Assignment” to ELMS-Canvas. These assignments integrate with the Gradebook and a column is created.  

Non-Graded Assignments can be added on the “Modules” page. No column is created in the Gradebook for these assignments. Graded VoiceThreads can be linked in the Modules area.

  1. Navigate to the Assignments for Graded VoiceThread area of your course or Modules for Non-Graded VoiceThread.
  2. Click the +Assignment button at the top (Graded).
  3. Complete the following fields in the Assignment template. Non-graded assignment sequence is different:
    • Title
    • Directions
    • Points
    • Assignment Groups
    • Display Grade As.
    • Due dates and availability dates
  4. For Submission Type, select External Tool
  5. Under the External Tool URL, click inside the box to open a new window with a list of tools.
    Screenshot of External tool box. Click in the box to get a list of tools.
  6. Select VoiceThread from the list of tools. Click the Select button. This will establish a link to the VoiceThread servers.
  7. Go back to the Assignment Setup menu and click Load in New Window.
  8. Give your link to the tool a title.
  9. Click the Save button.
  10. When finished, be sure to Publish the assignment in ELMS-Canvas by clicking the green checkmark so that students can see the assignment in ELMS-Canvas.


Configure VoiceThread in your course

For both Graded and Non-Graded Assignments, once the VoiceThread tool is added to your course, you must configure it.

  1. Click on the title of the Assignment.
  2. The VoiceThread Setup window appears.
    • Non-graded assignments only have 3 selections - Course View, VT Home, and Individual VT.
    • Graded Assignments have 4 setup options, the 3 above and the Assignment Builder block. This selection is only found when setting up a Graded Assignment.
  3. Once configured, you will get a Success prompt.


Configure non-graded VoiceThread assignments

Non-Graded assignments can be very useful in your course. They allow students to see the work of their peers easily access their VT account, and select one of their VT to share. For more information, see Non-Graded VoiceThread Assignments.


Configure graded VoiceThread assignments

As of June 30, 2021, VoiceThread Assignments have gone through a substantial revision. For more information, see the New VoiceThread Assignments video.


Automatic closed-captioning

You can add closed captioning to any video or audio slide, or to any video or audio comment. For instructions, see Automatic VoiceThread Captioning.


Copy a VoiceThread

VoiceThreads can be copied and used in other courses or semesters. The comments can be removed, or more comments can be added. See instructions in Copying a VoiceThread

VoiceThread Inactive Accounts

VoiceThread has a data clean-up policy that might result in some inactive accounts being deleted. The following policies apply to users under UMD license:



The following link to support in the VoiceThread tool and ideas for assignments.