Common Sense Review
Updated June 2014


Targeted discussions can help make video content more interactive
Visit Website
Common Sense Rating 3
  • A Vialogue lets discussions form around specific points in a video.
  • Adding videos and comments is a breeze with the simple interface.
  • "Comment density" analytics let users see precisely where videos garner the most comments.
  • Easily add content locally, or from the web.
  • Polls let users check in with commenters and see some basic response analytics.
The platform provides an easy and safe way to create discussions around online videos.
Tools to organize or curate comments could help teachers manage the threads, which can sometimes become pretty long.
Bottom Line
This time-based video discussion tool increases interaction for traditional, flipped, or blended classrooms, but might offer more in the way of built-in instruction and assessment features.
Amanda Finkelberg
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

The platform is designed to increase students' interactivity with video content through the ability to comment. However, the quality of engagement will depend on the content. The ability to comment may only engage to a point.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

The moderator feature can be used to curate and create additional prompts to facilitate and direct discussions. More options for embedded, interactive assessments and data for teachers could boost learning for kids.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Features are relatively simple to use, and the help pages are well-organized, thorough, and easy to follow. Email help is available. 

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Vialogues is a great tool for teachers looking to integrate Web media into traditional, flipped, or blended classes. Consider uploading popular content to engage critical thinking at key moments, posting lectures and using Vialogues for students to ask and answer peer questions, or encouraging students to share their own content for peer feedback.

Teachers looking for ways to track student engagement will definitely enjoy pointing students to specific parts of a video to prompt an asynchronous Web discussion. Another interesting way to use the tool would be as a note-taking device for video lectures. Students could work alone or in groups to annotate lecture content to study and/or to highlight key topics.

Read More Read Less
What's It Like?

Vialogues, from EdLab at Teachers College, Columbia University, is a free platform for sharing, annotating, and discussing Web-based videos. The simple interface is easy to use: Start by adding a video from a computer, cloud storage (Dropbox, etc.), or streaming sites, such as YouTube or Vimeo. Videos are nested into a Vialogues page that contains a timecode-stamped discussion thread.

Comments or polls can be added as discussion prompts, and users can weigh in with their own ideas. Videos can have multiple moderators to edit/delete comments or add polls. There's also an instant embed code, so it can be easily used with other websites and LMSs that don’t have a built-in video discussion feature.

Read More Read Less
Is It Good For Learning?

The Vialogues platform offers a step up from traditional video-hosting sites, providing students and teachers with the ability to add their own comments to specific timecodes in a video. It’s also pretty nice to be able to click a comment’s timecode and go directly to that part of the video to see what people are talking about, although unfortunately that feature doesn’t seem to work on every page. Privacy features enable Vialogues to be limited to a specific class or group, and polling adds a light form of interactivity to the videos.

While teachers won’t get analytics about individual students, the polls can still be a good way to start or enhance a discussion. Analytics do show comment density, so teachers can see which parts of a video created the greatest reaction or caused the most confusion. Overall, it’s a clean platform with stable features. Take note, however: Long comment threads can’t be condensed, so you may have to do quite a bit of scrolling to see the comments at the end.

Read More Read Less

See how teachers are using Vialogues

Lesson Plans