Student Instruction Manual
- Purchasing Credits
- Scheduling a Conversation
- Preparing for a Conversation
- Completing a Conversation
- Providing Feedback
- TalkAbroad Support
A. Creating an Account
Fill out the registration form with all your details and then click on Create Account. Be especially careful to select the correct time zone and language you are studying! An error will cause problems when connecting with a conversation partner in the future.
You will be sent an email which contains a verification link, click on it to finish the registration process.
B. Common Registration Errors
Please be sure to double-check your registration form before continuing. You can always make changes to your information by going to Account located on the top right corner on your homepage. Important Information:
- Email Address: All TalkAbroad emails will be sent here.
- Timezone: Your conversation partner will likely be in a different timezone than you. This is used to calculate the correct time for your partner to call you.
If any of this data is incorrect you will likely experience problems when completing your assignments.
C. Joining Your Class (Section Code)
Upon verifying your email you will be prompted to enter your section code. A section code is provided by professors so you can register for their class. If you are not registered for the correct section your professor will be unable to view or grade your completed conversations.
You are now at your student homepage. Before reserving a time for a conversation you will need to purchase credits or redeem a pre-purchase code. Click on Add Credits. Be careful to select the correct amount and length for your credits. Important information:
- Make sure to double check if your professor requires 15 or 30-minute conversations before checkout!
A. Redeeming a Pre-Purchase Code
If your conversations were purchased through the bookstore or by your professor you will have a pre-purchase code. Add the code on the space provided and click on Redeem. Upon entering the code your credits will be added to your account. You do not need to enter any credit card information or select any amount/length or language for your credits
B. Paying via Credit Card
In order to pay via credit card you need to select the language, number and lengthof credits to purchase, and confirm payment:
- Credit Card Number
- CVC Code: 3-4 number code on back of physical card
- Expiration Date
You will be charged and get a confirmation purchase email once you have confirmed the purchase.
Scheduling a Conversation
There are many conversation partners available to you. To get started, click Make a Reservation on your student homepage. You can search for partners in several ways:
- View All (by default) - You can navigate through the partners' calendars by clicking View Full Profile below their photos.
- By Country
- By Date/Time they are available – Use this if you already know the date/time you want to have your conversation and only want to view partners available at that time.
- Past Partners
A. Selecting a Partner
Once you make your selection you will see a condensed list of partners. If one looks interesting you can view their full profile by clicking on the photo or View Full Profile.
Each time you have a conversation you can speak to the same conversation partner or select a new one.
The full profile will give you an idea of the interests, hobbies, and background of the partner. Spend time looking at the available conversation partners so you can find someone with similar interests.
B. Finding an Available Conversation Time
Once you have selected your conversation partner, take a look at their calendar of availability at the bottom of the page. Choose a time that works for you by clicking on the time in the calendar. All times shown will be according to the timezone you have selected on your profile. You can change your timezone under Manage Account on your homepage.
Please be aware that conversations need to be made at least 36 hours in advance. This gives the partner enough warning to ensure they will attend.
Once you have selected the time you will be asked to confirm the time, the assignment you are completing, the conversation partner and optionally add your telephone number.
Your phone number is used to send reminder text messages before your call begins. It will also be used for communication by the TalkAbroad support team in the event there is a problem at the time of the call. You will not be contacted by the conversation partner at that phone number. Your phone number is suggested but not required.
C. Making a Reservation
To finalize this conversation click Make Reservation. You will be sent a confirmation email with details and instructions. To confirm that your reservation was successfully created, you can also look at the calendar at the bottom on the student homepage entitled My Reservations. You should now see the reservation at the appropriate day and time.
D. Canceling a Reservation and Updating an Assignment
Locate the conversation on the calendar at the bottom of the homepage. Click the link, which will display all the information for the upcoming reservation. Click “Cancel Reservation” or select the appropriate assignment. You can also update your telephone number for the text message alerts.
TalkAbroad’s Cancellation Policy is that you can cancel reservations up to 12 hours before the call is scheduled to take place. This allows enough notice so that the conversation partner can be alerted to the change. Your credit will be automatically replaced into your account.
Preparing for a Conversation
In order to get the most out of your TalkAbroad conversation it is best to prepare beforehand.
A. Preparation for the Assignment
If your professor has created an assignment in the TalkAbroad system it will be delivered to your conversation partner ahead of time. We suggest that you take 10-15 minutes to think about the conversation topic and come to the conversation with a plan.
If you are using TalkAbroad in a beginning-level course, consider writing out 10-15 questions to help structure the conversation.
B. Quick Test Call
We suggest that you complete a test call prior the scheduled time. This allows you to verify that you are comfortable using the audio/video conferencing tool prior to your conversation. In order to complete a TalkAbroad conversation you will need a computer with an internet browser that is WebRTC enabled. All modern browsers and phones will work with TalkAbroad (the latest versions of Google Chrome, Firefox Mozilla, or Safari are the recommended browsers to complete conversations. Refrain from using Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer as you might have problems through the conversation). You will also need a functioning microphone and video camera. Please test your equipment thoroughly to ensure they work well. If you are uncomfortable with the technology needed to successfully complete a conversation, please complete a test call ahead of time. You can find your personal test call room by clicking "Help and Instructions" located on your Student Homepage.
Simply make sure that you can see yourself, the mic bar is moving accordingly to the sound, and the connectivity test provides a positive result.
Completing a Conversation
Plan to arrive at your computer and sign into your account 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time. That will allow you to deal with any problems you might encounter before the call begins. The conversations will last either 15 or 30 minutes but it is safest to be available for 1 full hour in case of delays due to Internet problems.
A. Joining the Conversation
Click on the homepage 5 minutes before the scheduled time. A button for "Join Conversation" will appear for you.
B. Troubleshooting Steps
The other person cannot see or hear you
- Approve use of your camera / microphone.
- Firefox: The camera in the top left of your browser should be green. If not, click on it.
- Chrome: The camera in the top right should NOT have a X in it. If it does, click on it.
The other person can see you, but cannot hear you (or vice versa).
- Check what camera/microphone is being used.
- You can change your camera/microphone options by opening the boxes located in the top right of the screen.
The video/audio is delayed?
- Look at your picture and raise your hand. If there is a delay in your video you know your network is operating slowly. Try this test again after each step.
- Turn off all unnecessary program running on your computer.
- Restart your computer.
- If restarting did not help, the probable cause is an out-of-date graphics card or a computer that is too old for streaming audio/video. Please switch to a newer computer or mobile device. If this is not possible, contact the TalkAbroad support team to reschedule for a later time when a different computer is available.
- Restart your wireless router. If you are on a public wireless network turn your internet off and back on.
- 'Check your wireless speed': Speed Test
C. Finishing a Conversation
After finishing a conversation your conversation partner will upload the audio recording to the TalkAbroad website and you will receive an email confirmation. The recording should be uploaded within an hour of the end of the call. The email confirmation will include a link to provide feedback on the conversation. There may be occasional delays in uploading the audio recording and you can feel free to send us an email to find out more information.
D. How Long are TalkAbroad Conversations?
TalkAbroad currently offers conversations of two different lengths: 15 minutes and 30 minutes. But you may notice that not every conversation lasts exactly that long. What can you expect for the length of conversations?
30-minute conversations will last anywhere from 27-33 minutes. Some will start a couple minutes late due to our support team helping sort out some technical problems, and many will last a few minutes extra if your student and the partner are having a good conversation.
15-minute conversations will last anywhere from 11-17 minutes. We guarantee that you will get a full 10 minute of conversation time regardless of any technical problems our support team needs to help fix. Partners are also encouraged to use the full time available with students which means many of these conversations will last the entire 15!
If you feel you did not receive an appropriate amount of conversation time (and you arrived on time!) please let us know. We're happy to get them some extra complimentary conversation time.
After the conversation partner has uploaded the conversation you will receive an email confirmation. Included in the email is a link that enables you to provide feedback. This feedback is extremely important. If there were any problems on the call (poor call quality, discomfort with questions/comments made by your partner, etc.) TalkAbroad would like to know to improve future conversations. Someone on the TalkAbroad support team will contact you shortly regarding any problems you report and to refund the credit and help you reschedule if necessary.
The TalkAbroad support team is committed to being very responsive and available. TalkAbroad understands that students will have questions and there are a lot of logistics involved in completing a conversation.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email us, chat with us through the direct chat on the website.
If you have questions, please contact TalkAbroad support before asking your professor as we are very experienced in helping students navigate the program. You can expect to receive a response within a few hours if not immediately.