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An Exploratory Study on the Use of VoiceThread in a Business Policy Course

Marjorie Chan (California State University at Stanislaus, US)
Additional Authors
Prasanthi Pallapu (South Dakota State University, US)
Session Information
April 23, 2012 - 3:00pm
Areas of Special Interest: 
Blended Course
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Executive B
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes

This study explores business students' perspectives on the use of VoiceThread by requesting their participation in an exam review and a VoiceThread survey on VoiceThread.

Extended Abstract

This is an exploratory study which seeks students' optional participation in a VoiceThread exercise consisting of an exam review and a VoiceThread survey on the use of VoiceThread. As VoiceThread has not been widely used across university-level business courses, not all business students have knowledge of this tool. The first author of this paper developed a VoiceThread in one Sloan-C workshop, and she later got 11 students to participate in a case discussion on this VoiceThread. Except for this attempt, no business faculty on her campus had used VoiceThread in their classes. To get business students' perspectives with respect to the use of VoiceThread, the latter was used for a two-part exercise in this study. Part 1 consists of an exam review, and Part 2 consists of a survey on the use of VoiceThread. Presentation Content and Format The presenters will provide the following PowerPoint slides: 1. A literature review on VoiceThread 2. Survey questions of the study 3. Results of the study 4. Comments from respondents 5. Chickering and Ehrmann's (1996) seven principles in online instruction that VoiceThread satisfies. 6. Concluding comments Links to two VoiceThreads: The Plan to Engage the Conference Audience After the presentation, the presenters will ask the audience to answer questions #s 3 to 7 in the survey which was used in the study. A robust discussion with audience contribution is expected. The participants in the audience will address how VoiceThread can be used for learning activities in their classes, and the benefits that may result with its use. Who Will Benefit From This Presentation and What Will They Learn? This proposal would be most applicable for universities and four year institutions. The target audience includes novices and those at the intermediate level. University faculty members who are looking for an interactive tool to be used in blended courses for teaching and learning, the focus of this proposal, will benefit from this presentation. They will learn the following: 1. How VoiceThread can be used for various learning activities. 2. How VoiceThread brings about learner-instructor, learner-learner, and learner-content interactions. 3. How VoiceThread can be used for collaboration among learners and instructors. 4. Students' perspectives with respect to the use of VoiceThread as indicated in the results of this study. The Study Survey Questions 1. Did you comment on the VoiceThread? Yes/No 2. Was it difficult to comment? Yes/No 3. Do you like using VoiceThread for future exam reviews and discussion of chapter concepts? Yes/No 4. Would you like to USE VoiceThread to make a presentation for a course, in future? Yes/No 5. Would you suggest to your peers the use of VoiceThread for making their own presentations? Yes/No 6. How difficult was it to create your VoiceThread account? i. Very Easy ii. Easy iii. No Problems iv. Some Issues v. Very Difficult 7. Anything you would like to share about VoiceThread? Results Out of a total of 61 students in two sections of a Business Policy course, 22 students, 14 females and 8 males, participated in an optional exam review and a VoiceThread survey on VoiceThread. In answer to question #1, all 22 commented on the VoiceThread. In answer to question #2, only 1 of 22 answered that it was "a little" difficult to comment due to the small text box. Of 22 participants, 14 answered "Yes" to question #3, 14 answered "Yes" to question #4, and 12 out of these 14 answered "Yes" to both questions #s 3 and 4. With respect to question #5, 16 answered "Yes," and out of these 16 respondents, 13 also answered "Yes" to questions #s 3 and 4. Of 22 respondents, 8 answered "No" to question #3, 8 answered "No" to question #4, and 6 answered "No" to question #5. Altogether, 6 out of 22 respondents answered "No" to questions #s 3, 4, and 5. Discussion Eighteen students provided comments in answer to question #7, and reasons can be drawn from these comments with respect to the positive and negative responses to questions #s 3, 4, and 5. The positive comments came from 12 respondents, and these comments pertain to VoiceThread being a good tool, the ease of use, and interesting aspects of the tool. Four of the remaining six respondents expressed their reservations, and two provided negative comments. In fact, five of these six individuals who expressed their reservations or negativity with respect to the use of VoiceThread had answered "No" to questions #s 3, 4, and 5. Two respondents expressed their hesitation in using VoiceThread for presentations due to their lack of knowledge about VoiceThread as a presentation tool although both commented that VoiceThread was easy to use. Another two students criticized the small font, and one of them admitted that VoiceThread is "a good form of technology" although it is not her "first choice of communication." The remaining two students provided negative comments on VoiceThread. One of them found it slightly difficult to "figure out how to answer the questions or how to comment on others' answers." The other respondent expressed his dislike for VoiceThread's web interface, for he could not use it on devices other than a computer. Conclusion In addition to advocating the use of VoiceThread in Business Policy courses for exam reviews, presentations, case discussions, and so on, one can advocate its use for similar and additional activities in other business courses. For example, each student group can use VoiceThread to create an advertisement in an Advertising course. Students in each team collaborate to create the pictures and writing for the advertisement, and each team member can provide constructive critiques to improve the final product. As VoiceThread has not been widely used across university-level business courses, business faculty and instructional designers that have knowledge of the tool can present and demonstrate to business students the different uses of VoiceThread in various learning activities. With knowledge, business students may want to experiment with VoiceThread which can enable them to be more involved in their learning activities.

Lead Presenter

Marjorie Chan is Professor of Management at California State University, Stanislaus, and she received her MBA and Ph.D. from UCLA. Dr. Chan also received an Online Teaching Certificate from the Sloan Consortium. Her publications have appeared in journals such as the Journal of Business Ethics, International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Business and Society Review, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Journal of Management Case Studies, Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Business Journal, Journal of Leadership, accountability and Ethics, and the Open Ethics Journal. Dr. Chan served as a Guest Editor of a special issue titled "Executive Compensation" for the Open Ethics Journal, and the issue was published in 2009. Dr. Chan has also cases and articles published in books on management policy and strategy, small business management, and entrepreneurship. Dr. Chan has presented papers in both national and international conferences held in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Korea, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. She received the College of Business Administration's Outstanding Research Award for 2008-09. She received 15 journal publication awards from the College of Business Administration at her affiliation for 15 refereed journal articles published during 1995 through 2010. Dr. Chan also received five Leadership Awards for 1997, 1998, 1999, 2005, and 2006 from the International Conference on Advances in Management for chairing the Strategic Management and Organization Theory track. Currently, Dr. Chan is a board member of the Open Ethics Journal and the Open Business Journal.