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About URCAD 2021

Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD)


Celebrate URCAD's 25th Anniversary, April 19-25, 2021

URCAD XXV will be held online this spring. You will be able to view presentations, watch films, see video of dance and music performances, view artwork, and interact with presenters during the asynchronous event. Mark your calendars for the week of April 19-25, 2021 for URCAD XXV Online!

Visit the URCAD 2021 Event Page

For participation details, see the Guides below.

URCAD 25th Anniversary Logo Keynote Speaker Klaudine Wakasa

Visitor's Guide

Guide for Visitors (Video)

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Guide for Visitors (Text)

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Throughout the week of April 19-25, 2021, virtual attendees can visit URCAD 2021 Online and engage with undergraduate scholars using VoiceThread. VoiceThread is a collaborative, asynchronous tool that acts like a video conference over time (not at the same time) or a discussion board that allows you to hear and see others, not just read what they write. Anyone can view a VoiceThread. UMBC account holders can post a comment or question using their UMBC credentials. For visitors without a UMBC email account, please see below for details about how you can participate.


  1. Go to the URCAD presenters page (link coming soon).
  2. Select a presentation. An icon (VoiceThread icon)will indicate if it is available in VoiceThread.
  3. The link will open a new window.
  4. Click the play button from a student presentation.
  5. Use the arrows at the bottom of the page to navigate through the slides if there is more than one.
  1. Go to the URCAD presenters page (link coming soon).
  2. Select a presentation. An icon (VoiceThread icon) will indicate if it is available in VoiceThread.
  3. The link will open a new window.
  4. Click the play button from a student presentation.
  5. Use the arrows at the bottom of the page to navigate through the slides if there is more than one.
  6. Click on the + icon at the bottom of the slide to post a comment (requires UMBC account).



    You have several options: 
  7. After your audio narration is reviewed and uploaded, click Save.
  1. For visitors without a UMBC email account, in order to post a comment on a VoiceThread, you will first need to create a free non-UMBC VoiceThread account at https://voicethread.com. If you have a UMBC email account, do not create a VoiceThread account, as you can access VoiceThread with your UMBC credentials.
  2. Then, return to URCAD 2021 to comment.

Tips for Using VoiceThread During URCAD 2021

  • Upload a profile picture to your VoiceThread account. This ensures your comments will have a photo to identify yourself to other users and adds a personal touch to the experience. See → How do I upload a photo to my VoiceThread account?

  • Keep notifications enabled. By default, you will receive an instant email notification every time someone records a comment on a VoiceThread that you commented on. Click on the comment in that email to open it in your web browser. If you are not receiving the instant notifications even though they are enabled, please review VoiceThread's email troubleshooting tips.


Student Presenter Guide

Guide for Presenters (Video)

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Guide for Presenters (Text)

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There are 3 key steps for students to present in URCAD 2021. Expand each section below to review the steps.

  1. Log into VoiceThread. Use Chrome for the best experience.

  2. Click on Create in the upper left corner of your VoiceThread dashboard.

  3. Select your presentation file from your computer or drag the file to the Add Media drop zone. 

    • Uploading presentations and documents will turn each slide or page into a separate slide in VoiceThread. A 20-slide PowerPoint presentation will become a 20-slide VoiceThread. PDF, however, is recommended for best compatibility.

    • If you are presenting a media file, please review supported file formats. Students can upload up to 1 GB of files. If your presentation or video is too large to upload or process, please chunk it into smaller files and upload them separately.

  4. IMPORTANT: The following information is key for how people will find your URCAD presentation:

    • Enter a title for your URCAD presentation: LastName Presentation Title

    • Enter a brief description for your presentation.

    • Enter three (3) tags:

      • URCAD2021

      • Your college designation (CAHSS, COEIT, CNMS, etc.)

      • Your department tag using the 4-letter prefix (e.g., ENME for Mechanical Engineering, HIST for History, and so on).

  5. Click Save.

  6. Wait for VoiceThread to process your file. Depending on the size of the file and its type, this could take a few minutes. 

  7. Once your file is uploaded, click Comment to add your narration.

  8. Click on the + icon at the bottom of the slide to record your audio narration. You can record 10-15 minutes per slide in a VoiceThread deck depending on the audio option you choose.



    Although you can use video or text, we recommend three audio-based options:

  9. After your audio narration is reviewed and uploaded, click Save.

    • VoiceThread will automatically transcribe and caption your narration. Depending on the length of each comment you recorded, these automatic captions will process over the next hour through VoiceThread's system. You should review these captions for accessibility and make corrections. See → How do I edit automatic captions on a VoiceThread?

  1. Go to the main URCAD ThreadBox collection in VoiceThread.

  2. Find your department ThreadBox collection in VoiceThread.

  3. Click on the Add Your Own link in the right corner of the ThreadBox.

  4. Click Select from my VoiceThreads.

  5. Find your presentation and select it.

  6. Your presentation should immediately appear in the department collection. NOTE: VoiceThreads are listed by the newest submission first.

  7. Get the Share link to your VoiceThread, and submit it to the URCAD Submission Google Form so that your VoiceThread is displayed with your name on the URCAD page.

Comments may appear as text, audio, or video. The VoiceThread user will appear as a small square with the user's initials or an image, if that user uploaded a profile picture. Only UMBC VoiceThread account holders may respond to your URCAD submission.

  1. Log into VoiceThread and access the ThreadBox where your VoiceThread is posted.

  2. Open your VoiceThread.

  3. Click on a comment to read, listen, or view the question/feedback.

  4. To reply to the comment, click on the Direct Reply icon inside the user's comment window.

  5. Your VoiceThread identity image will appear as a preview in the conversation channel to preview where your comment will reside.

    You will also see the user's name to whom you are replying in the comment dial at the bottom of the VoiceThread.

  6. Select the comment option you would like to use for replying to the feedback. To enhance the conference experience, we again recommend audio.

    1. Audio from a microphone: Use your computer to record the audio narration.

    2. Audio from a telephone: Enter your phone number and VoiceThread will call you so you can record your audio narration.

    3. Audio from a pre-recorded file: Use any device to record the audio narration and upload the file.

  7. After your audio narration is reviewed and uploaded, click Save.

After you save your comment, it will appear in the conversation channel as a threaded reply.

Tips for Using VoiceThread During URCAD 2021

  • Upload a profile picture to your VoiceThread account. This ensures your comments will have a photo to identify yourself to other users and adds a personal touch to the experience. See → How do I upload a photo to my VoiceThread account?

  • Keep notifications enabled for your VoiceThread presentation. By default, you will receive an instant email notification every time someone records a comment on your VoiceThread presentation or one that you commented on. Click on the comment in that email to open it in your web browser. If you are not receiving the instant notifications even though they are enabled, please review VoiceThread's email troubleshooting tips.

  • Reminder: Support accessibility! Automatic captions will process for your VoiceThread presentation narration through VoiceThread's system. You should review these captions for accessibility and make corrections so other users who rely on this functionality will have accurate captions. See → How do I edit automatic captions on a VoiceThread?

  • Forgot tags? That's okay! You can easily update this information in your original VoiceThread. Open your VoiceThread and click on the ≡ icon in the upper left corner to edit. Once your VT opens, look for your title -- next to the title, there's a tiny "edit" link. Selecting that will open a small pop-up where you can edit your tags.