Voice Authoring

What is it?

Blackboard Collaborate Voice Authoring (formerly Wimba Voice Tools) is a collection of web-based tools that are integrated directly into Connect and WebCT Vista. These tools facilitate and promote instruction, collaboration, coaching and assessment through voice and sound.

Instructors can engage students with media enhanced learning activities that allow for both synchronous and asynchronous conversations and discussion. The following tools are available:


WebCT Vista

Overall, Blackboard Collaborate Voice Authoring is a great way to help increase the interaction and student engagement level with the online learning environment.

Uses and Benefits

You can use a variety of tools from the Blackboard Collaborate Voice Authoring suite to achieve specific teaching and learning goals.

  • Threaded Discussions

Using Voice Board, you can let students record their responses to a discussion topic that you started. At the same time, you can provide a recorded response either as feedback or assessment.

  • Online Office Hours

You can hold online office hours by using Voice Direct where you and your students can have real-time conversations, similar to teleconferencing.

  • Send Recorded Instructions

Sometimes it is easier to explain topics or assignment instructions by talking instead of typing them down. You can send recorded messages to all of your students in class by using Voice E-mail.

  • Vocally Annotate Presentations

Voice Presentation not only allows you to create an online presentation but it also lets you pull in the rich and diverse content found on the web. You can add voice-over annotations for in-depth explanations as well as enable students to respond and annotate the presentation themselves.

  • Make Short Announcements

Instead of writing announcements and reminders, you can easily record them using Voice Recorder.

  • Create Your Own Podcasts

Podcasting lets students take recorded audio lectures and presentations on the go. In some classes, podcasting has been used as a story telling exercise. Podcaster gives you the tools you and your students need in order to create podcasts easily.


Blackboard Collaborate Voice Authoring in UBC Courses

The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) Instructional Designer Sunah Cho talks about how she used the voice authoring tools for her on-campus Korean language classes

Nina Langton, Associate Professor at UBC Okanagan uses the voice authoring tools for her online WebCT course in Japanese language. It provides opportunities for students to have more self-directed learning.

The online course PSYC 320: Psychology of Gender uses the voice authoring tools to provide oral feedback to students' assignment and journal submissions.

Other Higher Education Institutions

Montclair State University uses the voice tools to increase the amount of language exposure students receive in one of their largest Italian language classes.

The University of Adelaide established a 5-week orientation program for their international postgraduate students where the need for effective feedback on the assessment of written tasks is very important. They talked about how they used Wimba Voice Tools to create individual podcasts in conjunction to written feedback.

The University of California, Los Angeles has a series of short videos of how instructors have used Wimba Voice Tools, including making online presentations and encouraging student to student feedback.

Get Started

Before you can start using Blackboard Collaborate Voice Authoring, please make sure that you have the following:

A) Course within Connect/WebCT Vista

Access the tools within Connect or WebCT Vista courses. If you don't have one, please contact your Faculty's Instructional Support Unit (ISU).

If your faculty does not have an ISU, please do the following:

B) microphone and speakers

Look for either one of these symbols on your computer to find the mic input.

Most laptop computers today have microphones built-in. You can easily find the mic input on your computer by looking for either one of the symbols on the side.

Once you have done both of the steps, please read the step-by-step instructions:


WebCT Vista

It is recommended that you go through the Setup Wizard before you start using the voice tools, especially if it is your first time.



See also the Blackboard Collaborate Voice Authoring Users Guide for more detailed information.

WebCT Vista

Detailed documentation on how to use and the different functions of Wimba Voice.

UBC IT has created a number of resources for both students and instructors on how to use WebCT Vista.



  • Explicitly share with your students how you want them to use the tools and what they can expect from you.
  • Improve sound recording by purchasing an external microphone.
  • Keep a balance between improving sound quality and students' differing levels of access to technology. The better the sound quality, the more data it creates.
  • Always check if the tool is using the right microphone and speakers before you start recording.
  • Review all your work before publishing for students to listen.


  • Prepare a script/outline of what you're going to record
  • Create practice recordings first before you submit an assignment.
source: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Documentation:Wimba_Voice_Tools/Elearning

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia


Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC  | © Copyright The University of British Columbia