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VoiceThread vs Kaltura

Date Posted Mar 9, 2017

VoiceThread and Kaltura are two media creation tools that are offered here at Rutgers. Before the introduction of Kaltura last summer, VoiceThread was really the only option for faculty who wanted to include some sort of multimedia in their courses. Now, Kaltura allows for easier media creation and management; yet, there are still use cases for which we would recommend using VoiceThread. Here are some of the comparison points that you should consider when pondering whether to use one over the other:

  • Media creation: Kaltura allows you to create screen-shares, narrated slideshows, “talking head” videos, as well as audio.  VoiceThread allows you to upload media (images, video, audio, slideshows) but does not allow you to create screen-shares.  However, even though they can both create narrated slideshows they do it in slightly different ways.  
  • Grading: VoiceThread allows you to create Voicethread Assignments which allow students do one of three things: create a VoiceThread, comment on a VoiceThread, or watch a VoiceThread.  These assignments can be graded and included in the Gradebook.  Kaltura does not integrate with the Assignments or Gradebook tools in the LMS.
  • Discussions: VoiceThread allows for multimodal threaded discussions.  Once a VoiceThread is posted, you can make comments to it by either typing text, recording a verbal comment, phoning in an audio comment, uploading video or uploading media.  Kaltura does not allow threaded discussions on the created media.

Use case differences

Even though they may sound similar in many ways I like to differentiate them by how they can be used and that depends on your learning objectives.  For example:

  1. You want real-time commenting on the media? VoiceThread will allow you to pause the media and insert comments at a specific time stamp.
  2. You want threaded commenting? As mentioned above, only VoiceThread will allow you to have threaded discussion within the same media.  You could add a “Comments” tool to a Lessons page in Sakai to allow for users to comment below the embedded media.  Yet the comments will not be tied to a time stamp.
  3.  For collaborative work like a group assignment, even if it just pairs, Kaltura will not allow further addition of media once creation is finalized.  Therefore, if a student created the first part of a slideshow, his/her partner would not be able to add on to the same file. With VoiceThread you can share your media and have a partner add slides, images, video, and audio.

For more information please join me as I review the differences between the two technologies on Friday, March 17th from 10:30-11:00 am.  I’ll also be going over how slideshow creation is different, and what each tool allows you to do.

Jeniffer is one of the Senior Instructional Designers here at OIRT. Her background includes Instructional Design & Technology, K-12 education, and Field Biology. Her other areas of interest include: Accessibility and Adaptive Learning Systems.

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