Tool Talk | March 11, 2019

Voicethread Upgraded: Now with Automatic Captions

If you have been using VoiceThread for mini-lectures or assignments, I bring good news! This presentation and discussion tool has been upgraded. From now on, all new audio and video content created on VoiceThread will have captions automatically generated a few minutes after the recording is uploaded.

Closed captioning is an accessibility feature that benefits all students. Students who watch VoiceThreads in sound-sensitive environments, like buses and libraries, often turn on captions. Captions are helpful when the recording contains specialized terminology or when the speech is fast paced or heavily accented. Students whose native language is not English appreciate being able to read text and listen to the words at the same time. Of course, captions are essential for students who cannot hear or are hard of hearing.

Turning on closed captions requires a simple click on the “CC” icon on the upper right hand corner of a VoiceThread. The video Instant Captions with VoiceThread shows you how to activate closed captions and how to edit them. The automatically generated captions are not 100% accurate, but changing them is relatively easy because the time stamps are already in place. It is very important to take the time to edit the captions on all the audio and video recordings that you make because accurate captions benefit everyone. Don’t forget to tell your students to do the same when they are adding audio and video comments!

If you want to generate automatic captions on VoiceThreads that you have previously recorded, you will need to make a copy of it. This will create a new version of the VoiceThread with automatic captions. Instructions on how to make copies of VoiceThreads are available at . Wait a few minutes for the captions to be generated and then edit them so that they are perfectly accurate.

Should you need help with captions in VoiceThread or want to discuss how VoiceThread can be used in your classes for presentations and interactive activities, reach out to the educational technologists at the Center for Online Learning. Email us at

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