Evan Sveum, in a recent section of E-Learning for Educators, helped me see some of the power of using audio as a feedback mechanism for online classes. Evan has a real talent for this medium, and uses it very effectively.

So does, Susan Manning, the instructional design teacher for the certificate program. She's our programs podcasting guru. Susan also hosts LearningTimes.org's Green Room broadcasts. Here's a link to a podcast she did with my buddy Dan Balzer on the issue of voices in online learning: http://home.learningtimes.net/learningtimes?go=1633511

Since I have 'hand problems' that make typing painful, I've been thinking a bit about how to record feedback efficiently. Evan and I swapped a few mp3's by posting them to the discussion threads. Useful, but time consuming. I'm not ready for one on one... but as a broadcast tech or for weekly individualized feedback... we may be on to something.

I can see using mp3's for feedback, but I'm not so sure I'd encourage it for posting.

The upside: it save your hands. Hearing someones voice adds intimacy and personal connection.

The downside: Hard to skim. Hardware & software problems may lock out a portion of your audience. Increased use of bandwidth. Making recordings that make sense takes practice!

What do you think? How does hearing (or seeing) your online instructor change a student's perception of learning?

Dennis

ps: Feel free to post an audio response!

Tags: audio, elearning, podcasting

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Okay, this was a set up! I have an article from the Sloan Consortium to share ~ Dennis

Effective Practice of the Month - Learn from Others' Experiences

This month's featured Effective Practice is Asynchronous Audio Feedback to Enhance Teaching Presence and Students’ Sense of Community.

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 feedbac k 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.

Philip Ice, University of North Carolina Charlotte
Reagan Curtis and Perry Phillips, West Virginia University
John Wells, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)

http://www.sloan-c-wiki.org/wiki/index.php?title=West_Virginia_Univ...
This seems pretty much a no-brainer, though the trade-offs certainly are valid.

Probably the single most repeated comment on my blog of four years is, "Where's the sound?!!" Yes, providing audio feedback to individual students probably is difficult on most setups. But if you;re creating a resource for learning across the web, sound just seems to deserve much more attention than it's been given.

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