Cribb, M. (2023). The Power of the Voice in Facilitating and Maintaining Online Presence in the Era of Zoom and Teams. TESL-EJ, 27(2).
This article examines the important role of voice in creating and maintaining teacher presence, described as, “…the ‘ability to command a room, hold pupils’ attention, and create an atmosphere of focus and inspiration” in the online classroom and provides helpful advice for online instructors to improve audio quality.
The author argues that since many of the elements that support teacher presence, such as face-to-face contact and body language, are missing in the online classroom, the voice takes on a critical role as the connector between teacher and students. However, this important element is somewhat overlooked as instructors may be dependent on poor quality microphones and inadequate set-up.
In order to address these deficiencies the author has developed the Voice Audio Rating Scale (VARS) designed to assess the voice signal as it is transmitted from teacher to student using platforms such as Zoom or Teams.
This simple tool is designed to be used by language instructors to test audio quality as they prepare their online classes. The author provides useful advice on microphone quality and use to maximize audio quality so that the quality of voice can effectively support teacher presence and thus minimize issues of poor communication and student disengagement.
The author also discusses the communication and interaction challenges that can arise in hybrid teaching and learning environments and how these may be at least partially addressed through attention to audio quality.
Retrievable from: https://tesl-ej.org/wordpress/issues/volume-27/ej106/ej106int/