Soliloquy User's Guide


a language learning app for the iPad

User’s Guide

Soliloquy facilitates listening comprehension and speaking practice with the iPad

Welcome to Soliloquy!

Soliloquy is a new App for the iPad that allows instructors to provide their students with a library of speaking and listening tasks and for users to record their responses, save their work, and return assignments to their instructors. With Soliloquy, instructors can provide speaking opportunities through audio, video, and image cues and collect their students’ responses. These cues are created in the free companion app, Soliloquy Composer, available on the Mac App Store.

We’re certain that instructors, students, and other users will find a variety of uses for this language learning App, including work on pronunciation, repetition, dialogues, interviews, description, narration, and listening and reading comprehension. Student users with their own iPads can purchase the app in the App Store or may be part of a campus that has adopted Soliloquy and supports the app on institutional devices.


1.0 What is Soliloquy?

Soliloquy is a tool for creating and completing language learning activities through audio files and user recordings. The App will display text or images and will play audio and video recordings. Each exercise begins with a base or original audio recording, into which users can record their own responses. While completing an exercise, users can listen and record, and can edit, re-record, or delete their recordings. When an exercise is complete, users with their own iPads can save their work to the device and copy it over to their computers later when they sync through iTunes. Students can immediately submit the completed assignment to a database for their instructors to review.

2.0 Getting Started with Soliloquy

2.1 For users

2.1.1 Registering your user name

When you start up Soliloquy for the first time you will be prompted to enter your name and user name. If you’ve used Soliloquy before, you can select your user name from a list of users who have used that iPad.

The first time you use Soliloquy, the App will prompt you to enter your real name (“Your Name”) and a user name (“Username”). Your user name may be self-selected or assigned by your instructor, university, or school. Once you’ve completed the form, tap “Save” or “Cancel”.

The user name information will be used to organize and save your progress within the Soliloquy app and will be available as metadata in the exported audio files you create with Soliloquy. This information will allow your instructors to organize submissions from all students in a particular course for a particular exercise.

If Soliloquy has already been set up for another user and you want to add your name to the list of users, tap the “User/Exercise” button on the top left corner of the screen and then tap “Users” from the tab at the bottom of that menu. Tap the + button to add a new user and add your name and user name to get started.

2.1.2 Loading Exercises in Soliloquy

Your instructor will set up exercises for you to work with in Soliloquy. Exercises are organized into “Libraries” by “Course”. Your instructor will send you a link either by email or direct you to a website with a Soliloquy link. When you tap that link on your iPad, it will automatically prompt Soliloquy to open and import that set of exercises. Independent learners can also make their own Soliloquy exercises through Soliloquy Composer.

In the “User/Exercise” menu, you’ll see a list of courses, from which you can select your course, then a list of libraries for that course, and finally, a list of individual exercises.

Tap any exercise to load it on your iPad. The associated audio file will load along with any text instructions, links, or images. Follow the instructions for the exercise to complete the tasks assigned.

Soliloquy will keep track of the exercises you have completed under your username so that you can save or revisit your exercises and so that you can submit completed work to your instructor. If you are using a borrowed iPad, you can delete your progress and user information at the end of a session with Soliloquy.

See below for more details on using Soliloquy to complete exercises.

2.2 For instructors

2.2.1 Create Soliloquy Exercises with Soliloquy Composer

As an instructor (or independent learner), you will create Exercises to be stored in Libraries for the Course you teach. A course might be something like “German 101”, which might contain a Library of exercises for that semester (e.g., Pronunciation, Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, Unit 4, Unit 5, etc.) and then each Library will contain one or more exercises that you create.

The tool for creating Soliloquy libraries and exercises is Soliloquy Composer, a free application for the Mac available from the Mac App Store. For more information, visit our Composer support page.

Please see the user’s manual for Soliloquy Composer for more information on creating exercises and libraries for your courses.

3.0 Using Soliloquy to complete exercises

3.1 Managing your user name and completed work

Once you’ve imported the materials your instructor has assigned by tapping a link in an email or at a website with Soliloquy exercises, you can begin working with the exercises you’ve imported into Soliloquy.

If you are not listed as the current user, select your name from the “User/Exercise” list. If you tap your name, you’ll see a list of any previous exercises with which you’ve worked. This list will only contain exercises for which you’ve made recordings, it won’t include exercises that you’ve only looked at or listened to without adding your own recordings. If you need to edit your user name, you can tap the blue arrow next to your name to access the registration form again. You can also delete your user name and any completed work by swiping across your name or by selecting “Edit” and selecting your name for deletion. Deleting your user name will delete any work you’ve completed. Once you’ve registered yourself or selected your name from the list of users, you’re ready to work with Soliloquy, by finding the exercises for your course.

3.2 Importing new exercises into Soliloquy

Generally, you’ll be importing libraries into Soliloquy through a webpage in the iPad’s Safari browser or through a link in an email. When you tap on a Soliloquy link, Soliloquy automatically launches and imports the material associated with that link.

3.2.1 Troubleshooting

  • If the server requires a password, Soliloquy will ask you for one (the username you registered will be used as a default, although you may need to submit a different login name).
  • If you see an alert that says the library file is damaged, try again by going back to the link and tapping it. If the problem persists, notify your instructor.
  • If only some of the exercises are damaged, the remaining ones will be shown. Notify your instructor if some of the exercises seem to be missing.
  • If you press the Home button or switch apps while an exercise is loading, the download will continue while you use other apps.

3.3 Selecting an exercise

To select a new course or exercise to work with, tap courses in the “User/Exercise” menu and find the exercise you want. If you don’t see your course or exercise available, make sure you’ve imported that material into Soliloquy through a link your instructor provided.

3.4 The Soliloquy Display

The main display consists of a menu bar at the top with the name of the current exercise in the middle. Various buttons to the left or right of the exercise name allow for navigation, information, and submission of completed exercises. Tap the “User/Exercise” button to navigate between courses and exercises or to change users. The film strip button plays a demo video, the “i” button provides information about the app, and export button (boxed arrow) allows you to save or submit your completed exercise.

Beneath the top menu bar is a bar displaying your name and username. If you don’t see your name displayed here, you should select your name from the list of users through the “User/Exercise” button.

The remainder of the display, from top to bottom, consists of a task box where you may find instructions, texts, images, or links, a timeline for the audio recording, a box that displays the recorded segments you’ve created, and playback and recording controls.

The task box contains some minimal controls in the event that your exercise contains links to websites, PDFs, or other audio and video files. You can navigate back or forward, reload the page, or open the page in Safari. If the Soliloquy exercise contains no further links or website information, these buttons will not function.

The play and record buttons can be positioned on either side of the screen to accommodate both right-handed and left-handed users. Simply swipe horizontally left or right across the bottom of the screen to change the position of the controls.

3.5 How to work with an exercise

Once you’ve selected an exercise to work with, the screen will display the instructions in the task box. Press the green playback button to hear the accompanying “base” audio. The original recording is referred to as the “base recording”, and your own “user recordings” can be inserted into it. While the base audio is playing, you can make your own recordings at any time by tapping the red record button. This will simultaneously pause playback and begin recording. Tapping the record button again will stop the recording and resume playback. Your recording will appear at the point in the timeline where you began to record yourself. Soliloquy will create a new audio file that contains both the original audio and your recordings without losing or deleting the material in the original recording. This is how the app allows your Soliloquy to become part of a dialogue with the original base recording.



The green button starts and stops playback. The red button starts and stops recording. When recording, you will also notice the vertical meter will register the levels at which you are recording. Speak at a volume so that the main part of the meter is filled and occasionally moves into the red zone at the top of the meter. If the meter goes too far into the red, the audio will be distorted. Your recordings will appear as a blue segment slightly offset below the green base recording.

It is possible to use either the iPad’s built-in mic or an external mic, such as earbuds with a mic for use with a cell phone.

3.6 Reviewing your work

Once you’ve made your recordings, you can review, add to, or delete them. Position the slider with your finger anywhere along the timeline and tap the green play button to begin playback from that point. The recorded audio will play in line with the original recording. If you are happy with your recordings, you can go ahead and submit them (see below).

You can insert audio within your own recordings in the same way you inserted your first recordings into the base audio. To add to the recording, position the slider along the timeline either by using your finger or by playing the audio, and tap record. When finished, tap record again and you will see that the new recording is nested within your previous one.

Deleting a recorded segment may be done in one of two ways. (1) In the timeline, tap on the segment you want to delete. The segment will be highlighted and a pop-up appears allowing you to delete the selected recording. When you tap on a higher nested segment, all the lower segments will also be selected. (2) Alternatively, (especially if the original audio is quite long and recordings are quite short and thus difficult to select directly from the timeline), segments may be selected by tapping on them in the segment table. The corresponding segment will be highlighted in the timeline. Tap Edit and then tap the red button beside the segment to delete it.

For more information on the Timeline and the Segment Table, see below – “More About the Timeline and the Segment Table”.

4.0 Enjoy using Soliloquy!

That’s all the information you need to get started with Soliloquy. We hope that as more and more instructors begin using the app, a community of Soliloquy materials and Soliloquy-based curricula will develop. We encourage Soliloquy users to begin developing their own materials for language study by learning more about Soliloquy Composer.

4.1 For More information

For more information, or to contact us with your support questions, visit our Support page.

Appendix: Further Details

A.1 More About the Timeline and the Segment Table

A.1.1 The Timeline

The timeline is the bar and slider between the exercise window and the segment table. At the beginning of an exercise, the green bar represents the base recording to which blue segments will be added when users record their responses. User recordings are embedded within and slightly below the timeline. This lower indentation follows for each level of recording, so that it is possible to make recordings within recordings (within recordings...).

Although users cannot delete or alter the original recording, they can select recorded segments and delete them and re-record. To select a recorded segment, simply tap on that segment in the timeline. If the segment is too narrow and short to select by directly tapping on it, select the equivalent segment from the segment table below. The selected segment will appear highlighted in light blue. In the case of a higher level recording containing embedded recordings, all lower, embedded recordings will be selected if a segment higher up is selected. When you select a segment, a popover Delete button appears. Tapping the Delete button removes the selected segment(s). Note: the Delete button is not available when VoiceOver is active on the iPad. Instead, use the segment table discussed below.

Double-tapping a segment moves the playback slider to the beginning of that segment. Note: When VoiceOver is active, a single tap after the selection tap moves the slider to the beginning of that segment.

A.1.2 The Segment Table

The segment table at the lower left of the screen shows all of the segments in the timeline. Base segments are labeled in green, User recordings are labeled in blue. Indentation shows the level of embedding of recordings within other recordings.

All segments are shown with their duration and location in the overall recording. Base segments are labeled in green, and show sound waves coming from the iPad to the User. User segments are labeled in blue and show sound waves going from the user to the iPad.

To select items in the segment table, simply tap a segment row. If you select a higher level segment with other segments embedded below it, all segments will be selected. The selection of that row in the segment table will also be reflected by highlighting the equivalent segment in the timeline in light blue. Tap elsewhere on the screen to clear the selection. Tap the Edit button to put the table into editing mode. Red buttons will appear in the left margin of the user segment(s) to enable segment deletion. Tapping a red button brings up the red Delete button in the right margin. Tap this Delete button to delete the selected segment(s).

You can also delete all User recordings for the exercise with the Delete All button. An alert will appear for you to confirm deletion. The segment table leaves edit mode when you tap the Done button, when you delete any recording, or when you delete all recordings. You cannot delete the base recording, you can only add to it.

A.2 Saving and Exporting Your Recordings

Soliloquy provides several ways for users to save their completed recordings. For individual users, Soliloquy recordings may be saved to the device (the individual user’s iPad) and copied to the user’s hard drive through iTunes during an iPad sync. Users who are students in a course may be asked to submit their recordings through email or by uploading to a server specified by their instructors.

You save or export your work by tapping on the export button at the top right of the Soliloquy screen. Upon saving or exporting, Soliloquy will create a new audio file containing the user’s inserted recordings. Before saving or exporting an exercise make sure the current user is set to your information as this will become part of the metadata used to label the audio file you create. Your username is embedded in the metadata of the file (and will be visible in applications such as iTunes) and your name used in Soliloquy becomes part of the named file along with the exercise name.

If you are not selected as the current user, displayed at the top of the screen, your audio file will be labeled with incorrect information. The resulting export file may then overwrite another user's work if it is uploaded to a WebDAV server for the instructor to collect. Always double-check that you are the current user, even though Soliloquy will display an alert asking you to confirm that the current user information is accurately reflected.

When you tap the Export button (arrow pointing right from a box) Soliloquy composes a new audio file that splices your recordings into the base audio. Soliloquy will then offer you up to three ways to save or send the completed exercise. Export methods include uploading to a pre-established WebDAV server, sending the file by email, or saving the file to the device currently in use (for later download when syncing).

A.2.1 Uploading completed exercises to a WebDAV server

The WebDAV export option provides a simple way for institutional users or for instructors with server access to establish a simple file-sharing system for receiving completed Soliloquy exercises. The use of the WebDAV export option requires that a WebDAV server has been set up and has been designated when the Soliloquy exercise was created in Soliloquy Composer.

Most likely, use of a WebDAV will require the use of usernames and passwords. The username is taken from the active registered user. Make sure you are active as the current user before submitting your exercise to a WebDAV. If your username is incorrect, find your entry in the User’s tab of the source list, tap the blue button next to your name, and edit your entry.

To export to a WebDAV server, tap the Export menu, then tap “WebDAV”. If the server requires a password, Soliloquy will request one from the user. Soliloquy will show a “busy” spinner while the upload is in progress. When the upload is complete, a popup will let you know. Soliloquy blocks other actions while uploads are in progress, but uploads will continue if you switch apps or close Soliloquy.

A.2.2 Emailing completed exercises

If the iPad running Soliloquy has been set up for email in the “Mail” app, then users may tap the Export button and then choose the “Email” export option. Soliloquy will begin to compose an email with your completed exercise audio file as an attachment. Users then enter the address of the recipient and any accompanying text for the message. Tap send to send the file. The iPad will make the whoosh sound when the email has been sent. It may take a while to send the file in case of large files and/or slow networks. If the completed exercise is larger than 1MB, you may have problems with the sending or receiving email server.

A.2.3 Saving completed exercises to the device

If the iPad running Soliloquy belongs to the user, then it is possible to save Soliloquy files to the device and copy to a computer during an iTunes sync. When you have completed an exercise, tap the Export button and choose “Save to Device”. Many apps in the iPad allow for this kind of file transfer, but iPad users may not be aware of how it works. After you have saved a Soliloquy file to the device, you can copy it over to your hard drive during the next sync with iTunes. On your computer, go to iTunes and select your iPad. Go to the Applications tab for your iPad in iTunes and find the list of apps with file sharing capabilities at the bottom of the page. You can select Soliloquy and drag any available files to your computer or choose the “Save” button. This is not the same as putting the completed exercise in your iTunes Music library, you would need to open/import any Soliloquy exercises directly to iTunes from where you saved the files on your hard drive.

A.3 Information

Tap the circled “i” button in the top toolbar to get more information about Soliloquy, and to make an in-app purchase to unlock the full features of the app.

When you first download Soliloquy, you will find that you are limited to exercises built into the app. Tapping the “Purchase” tab button in the information window will show you your options for unlocking Soliloquy’s full capabilities. All transactions are done securely through Apple’s App Store.

  • If you have already purchased Soliloquy, there's nothing you need do.
  • If you believe you have purchased Soliloquy, but the app is not letting you use its full capabilities, tap the “Reload Purchases” button. Your purchase will be verified automatically, and if it is valid, you'll be able to use Soliloquy as normal.
  • If you have not yet purchased Soliloquy, tap the “Purchase” button. You will be guided through the process of completing the purchase, and Soliloquy will be unlocked as soon as you’re done.
  • If Soliloquy can’t contact the App Store (if your iPad can’t reach the Internet, for example), Soliloquy will tell you that it can't handle any transactions. Check your network connection, and try again later.

A.4 Soliloquy Demo Video

Tap the filmstrip button at the top of the screen to play the Soliloquy instructional demo video. The screen will fill with a brief video exemplifying many of the features discussed in this user’s guide. Tap the video to display the play controls or to dismiss the demo video.