Is There a Mediathread Quickstart Guide for Students?

The help articles here may be helpful to your students along with the contextual help provided in the system. Instructors are also encouraged to meet with an Educational Technologist to discuss the assignment planned in Mediathread and develop with the Educational Technologist the technical steps to complete the assignment.

If you are interested in developing their own technical directions for your course and are looking for a document you may re-purpose, you may find the workshop outline below a helpful start. This document only covers the basics of Mediathread and you may need to borrow from other sections of the Uservioce help and or meet with an Educational Technologist about your further requirements.

The Mediathread Portal

All Mediathread courses are accessible through the main portal:

Does Your Computer Meet System Requirements?

Please make sure that the computer you are using to access Mediathread meets the system requirements

If you can't update your computer to meet these requirements, you may need to use a different computer. Computers that don't meet the requirements may render Mediathread features less than fully functional.

Log In

Once you confirm your browser has been updated to the most current version available and you have updated your plugins, such as flash, please navigate to Mediathread and log in with your UNI by clicking on the "Log In with Columbia UNI" button under Log In Columbia Users. Type your UNI and password in the fields provided.

If you are not a member of the Columbia community and have been given a guest account, enter those credentials under All Other Users.

All Mediathread courses you are a member of will be listed. If you are a member of only one course, you will be automatically brought to that course.

Your Course Home Page

When you log in, notice the content provided to you under the FROM YOUR INSTRUCTOR panel. Read over each piece of information, assignments and discussion that may be provided.

Your ANALYSIS panel, which consists of compositions and collections will likely contain limited content if this is your first time logging in. Your job is to fill this area up with your own selections and compositions.

Owners and Filters

Content throughout Mediathread is organized around the user that added the content and the tags or filters that have been associated with the content. The owner drop down under the Analysis panel is set by default to "Me" and will list all compositions you have completed, assignments you need to respond to, and annotations you have created on the site.

Owner Drop Down

Change Owner to another user on the site and you will see the compositions and media publicly contributed to the course by that user. Try changing "Me" to your instructor's name, or another user you think has added content to the site. Notice how the compositions and collection panels populate with content created by that user. Other areas of the site make use of the Owner drop down. Keep an eye on it and use it whenever it makes sense to your work.

Collection Filters (Tags)

Collection filters are tags or labels that you may add to media annotations in order to identify relevant content in the annotation.  By default you may filter content by date modified.

Filters are powerful if you and or your peers use the same terms to identify content in the annotations completed on the site. As you, and or your peers add annotations to the site, you may sort through these annotations based on the filter terms (tags) associated. Other areas of the site make use of collection filters (tags). Keep an eye on it and use it whenever it makes sense to your work.

Responding to an Assignment

If your instructor has provided an assignment for you to complete, it will appear with a green header under your Compositions panel on the home page. Click on the red text to see the assignment. Read over the assignment, when you are ready to respond, click the respond to assignment button.

Composing your Response

When you click respond to assignment, a composition space opens next to the assignment. Here you may write text and click on the arrows next to media to insert media. If you don't have any media, you need to add some to your collection OR you can see if others have media you wish to insert. To see annotations others have created, click on the Owner Drop Down and choose a user  or choose "All Class Members".

Adding Authors

If you are working on a composition with multiple authors, you may add them by clicking on the author button. Please remember, Mediathread does not support synchronous editing by multiple authors. Attempting to edit the same document by multiple authors may lead to conflicts in the system and data loss.

Saving your Response

Don't forget to click save each time you make an important change to your composition. Content is not saved automatically. When you save, you may choose to keep your composition private among the authors of the composition or private between the authors and instructors, or open for the whole class to see.

If your instructor has enabled public compositions, you may also save your composition as public. Doing so will give the composition a URL that may be emailed or shared with individuals without the need to log in to the system. All media will also be public, so use this feature with care.

Each time you save, you create a new revision. You may review revisions to a document anytime to see how the document evolved, who has contributed to the document, and to restore content that may have been deleted between two saved versions.

Creating Annotations from View All Items Content

There are many areas where you may begin with adding annotations to media in the course site. This tutorial will focus on using content that may be found under View All Items. To get to this area, make sure you are on the HOME page of the course. Then under the collection panel, click the "View All Items" button.

All the items that have been added to the course will be visible here. Notice that the Owner Drop Down is set to All Class Members by default. You may keep this setting or change it to another view as needed. You also have access to Collection Filters here. Both drop down menus will come in handy to sort the content that will appear here from all of your classmates. Notice that each media item lists the amount of selections made on the media by the whole class and the amount of selections made by "me".

The Item Annotation Screen

To begin a selection, click on the red title of a video you wish to make a selection. You will be brought to an asset analysis screen with the media in the center. The left column by default displays the collection content from all class members. The right column displays the annotation tools and data for the item.

The Item Annotation Tabbed Panel

Notice the three tabs provided: Item, Source, References.

The Item Tab

When you select an item to annotate the item tab loads the tags and notes associated with the full item. Selections on the item are grouped by author by default, allowing you to see the selections on the item made by others in the course. You may change this grouping to tag, to see the tags others have used to identify content on the video.

Check the "Show all selections" box to see a visual of selections made under the player head of the video.

Click "Create Selection" button to create your own selection. A new screen will appear under the Item tab. If the item is video or audio, click the play button and then choose a start time and end time for your selection. If the item is an image, use the mark up tools provided to annotate the image.

Give the selection a unique title, and some tags as recommended by your instructor or class.

Your instructor may have listed some tags for you to use in the information section under the "From Your Instructor" panel.

Add notes to explain why you made the selection. Click save. Notice that your selection is now listed among your peers.

The Source Tab

The source tab includes any metadata associated with the media. For instance, it will pull in the title, category, and description given by the author of a video uploaded to YouTube and imported into Mediathread. If there is no content here, it is possible the item did not have any metadata associated or Mediathread was not able to grab the data when the item was added to Mediathread.

The References Tab

References tab lists all the places where this video is used throughout the course. Here you can see how it is used in discussions and compositions. You may also see the tags the item has been given and how many instances the item has been given a certain tag.

Importing Content from the Web for Annotation

To analyze content from the web, click on the Add to My Collection button. Install the Mediathread bookmarklet, by following the browser specific instructions provided. Once the Analyze w/Mediathread bookmarklet is part of your browser bookmark bar, you may visit any Mediathread approved site to identify, select, and import the media into the Mediathread annotation screen. All content imported through the bookmarklet will also be available to others through the "View All Items" screen.

Instructor Recommendations are a list of sites your instructor has approved for your assignment and have been verified to work with the Mediathread bookmarklet. To begin, click on the red title of the collection and you will be brought to the collection. Search for the media you wish to import into the course collection, once you find the media, click the Analyze w/Mediathread bookmarklet. If prompted by a dialogue box, choose the correct, image or video item listed to import for analysis. Otherwise, your content should automatically be imported.

The item should now be rendered inside the Item Annotation Screen. Be sure to save it and it will also be available other places on the site.

Uploading Video and Audio

If your instructor has enabled this feature, Mediathread allows you to upload your own video and audio for annotation and insertion into compositions.

To do so, click on Add to My Collection. Click Upload Video or Upload Audio File button provided. Follow the prompts provided. Please be sure the format and size of your video or audio meets the requirements listed.

Once the media has been process, it will be available under the View All Items collection. Simply select your name from the Owner drop down.

Uploading Images and Documents

If you wish to analyze your own custom images or documents you must first upload them to an approved collection, such as flickr or a public Google Docs folder (Lionmail does not allow you to make your Google Docs folders public, you would need to use a personal Google Drive account in order to do this). Mediathread does not import document types, so you must change the document into a series of images for each page.  Once complete, use the Mediathread extention to import the images into the collection space. From there you may annotate.


Mediathread offers contextual help throughout the system. Also, you may find answers to your questions from the help menu provided here

To report a technical issue or bug, please write: ctl-mediathread AT columbia DOT edu

If you have questions about how to complete the assignment, please contact your professor.

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