Professor Instruction Manual
- Accessing Student Information
- Class Forum
- Documentation for Students
- TalkAbroad Support
Creating an Account
To create an account you need to access the TalkAbroad website located at www.talkabroad.com and click on the Login button on the top right of the screen.
On the login page click Register Student Account then click Register Professor Account at the bottom. Fill out the registration form with all your details and then click on Create Account. It is important that you pay close attention when you register, an error will cause problems when checking your sections in the future.
Upgrading to a Coordinator Account
Coordinator accounts are available for any professor needing to supervise multiple sections taught by other professors. In order to upgrade your account please contact TalkAbroad Support by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call our support team at 415-692-5311. There is no cost for a coordinator account.
You can organize your students using sections. Each section has a unique section code that is provided to students. When a student registers for your section, you will see the student in the middle column of your homepage and have access to any conversations completed for your course.
Creating a Section
Create a Section by clicking Add New Section on your homepage. The button is located inside the Section Codes box. Complete the form providing us with some basic information about the class and click Register.
The Section Code For Students
All students are locked out of TalkAbroad until they enter a section code. Each section has a unique code, and you can view these codes from your homepage in the box labeled Section Codes.
The Anatomy of a Section
After creating your section you will see the Section Code on your homepage. This code needs to be provided to your students to register for the class.
You can now click on the name of the section in the navigation bar to the left. Upon doing so you will see two separate areas:
- Students: A list of all the students currently registered. (Initially this list will be empty.)
- Assignments: A list of all assignments you have created for this section. There will be one assignment created automatically that you should edit for your first course assignment.
All student conversations will be accessible indefinitely. Sections are automatically archived two weeks after the expiration date you selected when the section was created. You can locate all archived sections by clicking Archived Sections in the navigation bar to the left.
Creating an Assignment
Click on a section name on the homepage. On the right side panel click on Add New Assignment. Fill in the name and instructions for the assignment in the area provided. Should you need to add a file to your assignment, our system allows for only files in the .pdf format to be uploaded. These will show up for both the partner and the student during the conversation.
Instructions for Partner and Student
Use the shared instructions to communicate the topic for the conversation to both the student and the conversation partner. Short instructions of 4-5 sentences work best, providing a general theme and perhaps some sample questions to get started with. These instructions need to be in the target language.
This area also allows you to upload a PDF document. If you want to have more than 4-5 sentences we suggest you upload a pdf document that clearly outlines the topic.
Please do not use this section as instructions only for your student. Put any instructions for your student in your syllabus. The instructions included here should be helpful to both the student and the conversation partner.
Private Instructions for Conversation Partner
When creating an assignment, there is an area labeled Private Instructions for Partner. This area allows you to communicate directly with the conversation partner. We suggest you include any additional information that would help them prepare. All communication with partners must be in the target language as many do not speak English. Please limit this to 4-5 sentences. This is not the appropriate are to communicate the topic for the conversation. Please communicate that information in the "Instructions for Partner and Student".
Please remember that conversation partners are not teachers. Technical instructions, such as specific verb tenses, may not be well understood. We suggest you provide broad topics for the partner to concentrate on with your students.
When creating an assignment you may choose to allow the assignment to be done in a group. If you make that option available, students will be prompted to add other students to their group. All students need to be registered with TalkAbroad to be included in a group assignment. After a group assignment has been completed you will be able to view all members of the group together. You will also be able to select a student to see all group assignments they were included in.
Deleting and Editing Assignments
You can edit an assignment at any time. Click on the link Edit next to the assignment name. Once editing the assignment you can also choose to delete it. You will not be able to delete an assignment that has already been completed by a student.
Re-using Assignments from previous semesters
There may be times when you want to use the same set of assignments you created for a previous semester. For instance, if you taught the same class using TalkAbroad last year. Rather than rewrite the assignments for each section it would be easier to just copy them to the new section. No problem. Log into your account and click the section in the top left. Once there, look for the button stating Use Previously Created Assignments inside the assignments box. On this screen you can enter the Section Code for the assignments you want to re-use. This will automatically copy the entire group of assignments from a previous section. You can view all previous assignments and section codes by clicking Archived Assignments on the left side panel.
If this is a new section, click Delete Currently Existing Assignments before importing previous ones to avoid any confusion for your students.
There may be times when you want to share a set of assignments with another professor. For instance, if you coordinate a group of professors teaching the same class. You want all professors to use the same assignments that you create. This is achieved by creating the assignments in a section. Once created you can provide the section code to any professors and the professor can follow the instructions in the section Re-using Assignments from previous semesters to add the assignments to a current section. Assignments can be shared with any professor, regardless of what school they are at.
Sharing assignments does not share access to any student information or completed assignments. It simply creates new assignments by copying the assignment name, number of students, and instructions for the conversation partner from the other section.
Accessing Student Information
Conversations can be viewed in two ways: by assignment or by student.
To view all conversations by a particular student, click on the student’s name in the left column. You will see a list of all the assignments completed in the box at the top. Click on the status of the call to see call details, or click the play button to the listen to the audio for the conversation.
To view all conversations of a particular assignment, click on the assignment name in the right column. You will see a list of all the students who have completed the assignment in the box at the top. You will notice a list of group members for each completed conversation. Click on the status of the call to see call details, or click the play button to the listen to the audio for the conversation.
You will see the status of every conversation in the column on the right as well as inside the conversation details. There are four possible statuses:
- Upcoming: This conversation has been scheduled but not completed yet.
- Student Miss: The conversation partner attended the conversation but the student did not attend. In this case the partner connected to the conversation, but the student did not. You can view a list of connection logs by viewing the conversation details.
- Partner Miss: The conversation partner did not initiate the call. This is usually caused by a problem related to electricity or Internet access. Your student will have been contacted at the time of the conversation by our support team to fix the problem. Less than 1 in 200 conversations have this type of problem.
- Completed: The conversation was completed successfully.
Student and Partner Missed Call Procedures
TalkAbroad has a set process for handling student and partner misses.
Student Miss: At the time of the conversation, the partner will log on to the site and wait 20 minutes for the student to connect before exiting the conversation page. If the student does not connect in time, an email and text message will be sent to the student to remind them the partner is trying to contact them. The email will request that the student contact the TalkAbroad support team immediately so we can help troubleshoot if there are any problems. The support team will work with them to solve the problem. If the student does not contact the support team the call will be set as a Student Miss and the conversation credit will be forfeit. The student will receive an email with a code to purchase a replacement credit at a 50% discount.
Partner Miss: If the conversation partner experiences a problem with electricity or Internet the student will be automatically alerted via email and text message. A member of the TalkAbroad support team will get in touch with the student in order to offer finding a replacement partner to complete the call with the student at that time or alternatively refunding a credit so the student can reschedule the call.
Downloading the Audio Recordings
Conversations can always be listened to directly through the website on your professor homepage. In some instances you may want to download the audio recording to listen to or save on your own computer. The conversations can be downloaded in mp3 format by clicking on Details for the conversation in question and then selecting Download Audio. The .mp3 recording will be automatically downloaded to your computer and you can listen to them on any compatible music player.
Documentation for Students
There are a number of documents available for students using TalkAbroad. These should be used to prepare students and answer any questions they encounter using TalkAbroad. These documents are always available for the student through the TalkAbroad Support Website. Links are included here.
The student manual is a document that gives in-depth instructions on all relevant aspects of TalkAbroad. It includes a description of every step from registration to completing a conversation. This is the first place students should be directed if they are having any difficulties.
The class presentation is a PowerPoint presentation that can be used during class time to introduce your students to TalkAbroad. It provides an overview of TalkAbroad, and a number of slides are available to be customized by the professor to communicate how TalkAbroad will be used in their particular course. It is suggested that you take advantage of these custom slides to organize valuable information for students, such as section codes and assignment instructions. The presentation also includes notes for each slide that can be used as talking points to prepare your students for using TalkAbroad.
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 questions, please contact TalkAbroad support and they will try to help you with your problems or queries as best they can. You can expect to receive a response within a few hours if not immediately.