The effect of implementation of a voice messaging system on student perception of interaction and satisfaction in telecourses
Shelly Lin Schwartz, Clemson University, United States
Clemson University . Awarded
Telecourses, which are video and text-based, instructor-supported courses designed to allow students to complete most of their coursework at home, are commonly characterized as solitary learning experiences with limited interaction between the student and instructor, and among students. At Greenville Technical College, Greenville, SC, both students and faculty regularly expressed dissatisfaction with communication, and feedback or response-time in telecourses. In an effort to improve the communication process, a low-tech, relatively inexpensive voice messaging system, which provided students and faculty with personal voicemail boxes and allowed them to send and receive individual and group messages, was installed before the Fall 1995 semester. Telecourse faculty were assisted with planning for three types of activities to stimulate interaction in their courses using the new system.
Although the telecourse is still a mainstay for many colleges, the more technologically sophisticated distance education options such as broadcast or on-line, computer-assisted courses receive more attention in both practice and the literature. Consequently, there are few attempts to corroborate the supposed benefits of support systems such as voice messaging. Therefore, this causal-comparative study was designed to assess the consequences of the purposeful implementation of a voice messaging system on student perception of interaction and communication and overall satisfaction in college credit telecourses. Data from end-of-semester evaluations, retention and achievement reports from students in 10 telecourses. (Spring 1995; N = 164) with interaction by telephone and standard message machine, traditional mail, and/or on-campus conferences or meetings were compared to data from the same 10 telecourses (Fall 1995; N = 142) with interaction using a voice messaging system. Additionally, data from an informal faculty survey and faculty comments were assessed.
Results of this study indicated no significant differences in perceptions of interaction or satisfaction between groups. No significant differences were identified for retention or achievement. In general, faculty indicated the system was an acceptable addition to the telecourse and provided a simple, flexible way to individualize courses. There appeared to have been, generally, a neutral acceptance by most students. Although there were no statistically significant results of this study, implementation of the voice messaging system was of practical importance to some faculty.
Schwartz, S.L. The effect of implementation of a voice messaging system on student perception of interaction and satisfaction in telecourses. Ph.D. thesis, Clemson University.
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