If we want to translate sound into digital format, or to translate digital information back into analog sound, we have to use a device called a transducer. Transducers translate one kind of energy into another. An audio transducer transforms sound waves in the air into some other form, such as an electrical signal.

Thomas Edison’s 1877 tinfoil phonograph was an early audio transducer. It converted sound energy into mechanical energy by translating the vibrations in air into grooves in a foil-wrapped cylinder. The owner of the phonograph inserted a stylus into a groove on the cylinder and then attached the stylus into a megaphone-type horn, reversing the direction of the transducer, and translating the grooves back into sound.

Some of today’s most common transducers include microphones, headphones, and speakers. They convert sound into electrical energy or vice versa.


Blackboard Collaborate Voice Authoring Tools

Blackboard 9 features five voice authoring tools. In previous versions of Blackboard the company made the Wimba voice authoring tools available to its users. Blackboard purchased  Wimba before it released Version 9 and renamed this suite of audio tools Blackboard Collaborate Voice Authoring Tools. The five voice tools and their basic functions are:

Voice Board – Allows you to post and listen to voice messages within discussion boards
Voice Presentation – You can annotate web pages with voice messages.
Voice Podcaster – You can create and upload podcasts that your students can subscribe to.
Voice Email – You can send and listen to voice content through email messages.
Voice Authoring (formerly Voice Recorder) – Allows you to make a voice recording in any content area.

Blackboard has a 57-page user manual in PDF format you can download free at: