Using Asynchronous Audio Feedback to Enhance Teaching Presence and Students’ Sense of Community

Ice, Phillip, Reagan Curtin, Perry Phillips, and John Wells.  “Using Asynchronous Audio Feedback to Enhance Teaching Presence and Students’ Sense of Community.”  Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, volume 11, number 2 (July 2007): 3-25.

ABSTRACT: This paper reports the findings of a case study in which audio feedback replaced text-based feedback in asynchronous courses. Previous research has demonstrated that participants in online courses can build effective learning communities through text based communication alone. Similarly, it has been demonstrated that instructors for online courses can adequately project immediacy behaviors using text- based communication. However, we believed that the inclusion of an auditory element might strengthen both the sense of community and the instructor’s ability to affect more personalized communication with students. Over the course of one semester, students in this study received a mixture of asynchronous audio and text-based feedback. Our findings revealed extremely high student satisfaction with embedded asynchronous audio feedback as compared to asynchronous text only feedback. Four themes, which accounted for this preference, were culled out in an iterative, inductive analysis of interview data: 1. Audio feedback was perceived to be more effective than text-based feedback for conveying nuance; 2. Audio feedback was associated with feelings of increased involvement and enhanced learning community interactions; 3. Audio feedback was associated with increased retention of content; and 4. Audio feedback was associated with the perception that the instructor cared more about the student. Document analysis revealed that students were three times more likely to apply content for which audio commenting was provided in class projects than was the case for content for which text based commenting was provided. Audio commenting was also found to significantly increase the level at which students applied such content. Implications of this case study and directions for future research are addressed in the discussion and conclusions section of this paper.

The article is available at ERIC for free at this link.