1 University of Zaragoza (SPAIN)
2 University of Valencia (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 2335-2338
ISBN: 978-84-09-37758-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2022.0685
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
In certain times of the academic year, such as the exam period, there is an increase in the flow of emails from students to teachers. At these critical moments, teachers are often overwhelmed by a high volume of emails in the inbox, which requires high preparation and an urgent response. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased this problem. Without face-to-face interaction students experience difficulties asking questions directly to the teacher, forcing them to use email. Audio feedback has been proven to be an efficient strategy, as investing one minute recording an audio message allows us to communicate the same information as when investing 6 minutes writing (Cann, 2014). Therefore, voice notes could be an interesting resource to explore when answering emails. In addition to reduce teacher’s workload it could also have a positive impact on student performance. It has been shown that audio feedback is attractive to students as they are more likely to listen to a message than to read a long email. Additionally, this communication strategy would also increase students’ academic engagement as a result of the perception of a personal implication of the teacher in their progress. The main objective of this project was to assess whether attaching voice notes on emails would reduce the time that teachers spend answering emails, and if students can also benefit of this strategy by increasing their academic engagement and their satisfaction with the email system.

The study is a teaching innovation project and was approved and financially supported by the University of Zaragoza, Spain. It was implemented in the subject Educational Psychology on the first year of the Degree in Primary Education. Since the beginning of the subject, and for two months, the teacher registered the daily time spent answering students’ emails. One month after the beginning of the subject students complete a pre-test evaluation of academic engagement (UWES-S-17), their satisfaction with the University email system and their perception of the quality of the communication with teachers through email. After this moment the teacher started answering emails employing a web application that allows to answer emails using voice notes that are integrated into the email through a link (Talk&Comment). At the end of this second month, students were tested again for academic engagement and their satisfaction.

Results and conclusions:
Students increased their satisfaction with the University email system and their perception of the quality of the communication between students and teachers. No significant differences were obtained in the time spent by the teacher answering students’ emails; however, we think that this is caused by the fact that in the beginning of the academic course there is a higher volume of emails from students than in the second month. With these preliminary results, voice notes appear to be an appealing resource to answer student emails, however to assess the full potential of this tool a longer follow-up study is necessary.
Voice notes, feedback, communication, engagement, satisfaction.