In this digital age of inbox-filling emails and pocket-buzzing instant messages, the human voice is often silent behind walls of text displayed on a screen. In an online course, a student’s individual contribution may be weighed more in terms of paragraphs typed rather than the depth of ideas discussed. As an instructor assesses student work, finding the best balance between number of words typed versus concepts the student absorbs can become a challenge. In these cases, encouraging asynchronous voice conversations through audio feedback may provide an element of warmth, sometimes missing in online course interactions. Fortunately, an easy-to-use tool for these tasks is ready to use in CSC Online-Sakai.
The Record Audio Clip function is found in the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), or rich text editor anywhere the option to type text is available in course sites. A microphone button is nestled in the text editor toolbar. Hover over the button to reveal a tool-tip displaying “Record Audio Clip.”
The first time you use the Record Audio Clip function, your browser may prompt for permission to use the computer’s microphone. This access must be allowed before you will be able to use the Record Audio feature. Below is an example of this permission alert in the Chrome browser.
Once permission is granted, click the Start Recording button to begin recording your audio message. When finished, click Stop Recording. Once your audio is recorded the Preview Recording and Post Recording options are displayed. A posted recording appears as a large placeholder in the WYSIWYG editor and as a small audio player in the published text. Continue editing your post by typing text around the recording and previewing to see how the audio clip will appear to others. Listen to an audio clip recorded by another user by clicking the Play button in the audio player displayed.
All members of a CSC Online-Sakai site, including students, have the ability to quickly record and post audio. This convenience makes audio recording a useful teaching tool in all areas of an online or blended class. Course forum discussions can become asynchronous voice conversations, allowing students to explain ideas, demonstrate their learning, and share thoughts in a more nuanced manner than typed posts may convey. Students may also benefit from the warm audio feedback from their instructors on graded assignments, test answers, and/or forum conversations.
Once the Record Audio function has been mastered, take a look at the Meetings tool, a class-contained option for face-to-face communication.
For more assistance with CSC Online-Sakai or any of the technologies highlighted in this article, contact the Teaching & Learning Center staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.