Monday, June 9, 2008

Comment Challenge Day 29: Writing a Commenting Guide for newbies

Well, I'm nearly there - on Day 29 of the Comment Challenge. Today's task looks a bit like hard work; I have to come up with a commenting guide for students, except I have changed it to blogging or Internet newbies.

Playing with VoiceThread
I have taken up Michele Martin's suggestion and made this small commentary using VoiceThread which is a wonderful tool for putting audio to slides and making a 'short and sweet' slideshow. It is relatively easy to use once you have watched the 'how to' instructions.

However, if you're wanting to making a longer slideshow with audio, you are probably better to use Slideshare. Having said that, VoiceThread has a much better facility for interaction than Slideshare, and is much more fun.


sunshine said...

hey that was great, sounded clear and easy to navigate. im looking forward to having a play with this tool :o)

Sarah Stewart said...

What is so much fun is that people can leave text, audio or video comments/replies. All you have to do is register to voicethread and then you can reply.

Merrolee said...

Wow.. this looks like fun and I like how Kerry J left you a response - too late for me to try tonight but I'll be back!

Bronwyn hegarty said...

here are the terms and conditions about contributions to voice thread - the ones which worried me anyway.

VoiceThread shall be entitled to use or disclose (or choose not to use or disclose) such Contributions for any purpose, in any way, in any media worldwide; (d) VoiceThread may have something similar to the Contributions already under consideration or in development; (e) your Contributions automatically become the property of VoiceThread without any obligation of VoiceThread to you; and (f) you are not entitled to any compensation or reimbursement of any kind from Yahoo! under any circumstances.

Bronwyn hegarty said...

Sarah see there is always one who has to slap the damp rag over things. I really liked your tips about leaving comments. I like the idea of voicethread but prefer facilities like Youtube which do not proclaim to own people's work.

Sometimes it is too easy to jump in and say things without thinking - I am good at that but have learned to modulate my responses. So another tip would be to read the comment carefully before posting it to check for: tone - friendly and constructive is good, clarity of information - your point about "ramblers", and length.

A question: If it is too long do you think it is better to break it into several parts or does this lose the flow?

Sarah Stewart said...

If I am making a comment and it is getting too long, then, I turn it into a blog post and link back to the original blog. But of course, not everyone who comments has a blog. In the end, I'm not too concerned about the length of a comment as long as it is pertinent to the original post.

The other thing is that some people only welcome comments that are relevant to the post. I'm not so worried because at times I like to have irrelevant, funny banter threading through the comments - its fun and makes things a lot less heavy.

Like you, Bron, I am learning to think before I open my big mouth. It's very hard for me but is something I have to keep working at.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thank you, Bron, for pointing out the downside of VoiceThread. I didn't look at it that clearly. Naughty me! Just goes to show that the fine print is important to look at.

SteveM said...

Hi Bronwyn,

I just wanted to point out that the section of the terms of service that you quote is under the heading "Contributions to VoiceThread'and refers not to the voicethreads you create, but to 'ideas, suggestions, documents, and/or proposals ("Contributions") to VoiceThread through its suggestion or feedback mechanisms. So all that legalese about ownership is referring to the suggestions you give us like "develop a better notifications system;)" and NOT your voicethread content! The section referring to your voicethreads is just above, and starts with the phrase, "VoiceThread does not claim ownership of any Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Service."
I absolutely understand the confusion and I don't think the language is very user friendly, we'll try to clean it up.



Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Steve, thank you for popping by and trying to clear up misconceptions about copyright. I really appreciate your prompt connection. But I must admit I am as confused as I was before.

Under the section 'Content submitted or made available through the Service', you talk about having the right to 'worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license' to public material. I have no problem with sharing my work, but I do want it attributed to me (see Creative Commons). If you used my work, would you attribute it to me?

I agree with you, Steve - I think the wording is ambiguous, especially for those of us who find copyright a challenge to understand. Have you considered creative commons?

Sarah Stewart said...

The other thing I'd better draw everyone's attention to is the terms for free use, which includes 3 voicethreads per month. If you want to be able to make more extensive use of it, the cost is $59USA per year.

SteveM said...

Hi Sarah,

The legalese sure can make the obvious sound complicated! The right to 'worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license to public material' just gives us the right to show your your public work "solely for the purposes of providing and promoting the content. This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Service and will terminate at the time you remove or VoiceThread removes such Content from the Service." In other words, if you make your voicethread public, we're allowed to show it in our public section. If you ever change your mind about it, the remedy is really simple, change it's settings to not public, or delete it, and we lose the right to show it. I think the first phrase is really the most important, 'VoiceThread does not claim ownership of any Content' the rest of the legalese is simply making it explicit when you publish on voicethread you are in fact giving us the right to publish it.
In the future we will definitely adopt a Creative Commons framework for users to publish their work with different types of restrictions, particularly when we let creators publish their voicethreads in a format that allows others to re-use them(later this summer)

Thanks for the critique of the terms, we'll see if we can't clear it up a bit without incurring too many legal bills;)

p.s. the limits for the free basic account on is 3 total voicethreads, not per month. Of course the free Educator account has no limits at all on the number of voicethreads you can make.

Sarah Stewart said...

Steve, thanks for taking the time to join this discussion - its been really useful to clarify these things. I am loving VoiceThread and think it would work really well with engaging my midwifery students. Increasingly we are working with distance students, so I think this would be way to engage them in conversations about midwifery issues. Thanks a lot. I'll look into the 'education' terms. Cheers

Michele Martin said...

Sarah--don't know how I missed this, but apparently I did. GREAT piece of work! I love how quick and easy this is and how clear you were. I also loved that other people could contribute to the conversation by talking about their own experiences. If you do end up using Voicethread for your midwifery students, I'll be really curious to see how it goes!

Sarah Stewart said...

What I was thinking of, Michele, was some kind of 'thought for the week'. IE, I'd post up a statement at the beginning of the week, it would probably have to be slightly controversial like 'women who smoke in pregnancy should be jailed for child abuse', and then see how they respond.