Can You Hear Me Now? Assessing Students’ Classroom Communication Preferences via a Telephone Conference Activity

Sharon G. Heilmann, Air Force Institute of Technology


Telephone conference presentation delivery was compared to face-to-face classroom delivery in an undergraduate business course setting to assess whether concern over presenting in front of the class and/or gender impacted presentation mode preference. After completing a classroom exercise, students (n=102) were surveyed and asked to compare delivery methods from two courses, one requiring a telephone conference and the other requiring a face-to-face classroom presentation, in terms of perceived effectiveness, feedback, teamwork, instructor cues, preparation time, and overall comfort. Independent sample t-test results indicated respondents who worried about presenting in front of the class believed the telephone conference format required more attention to verbal presentation quality, and they also worried more about presenting in the telephone conference format than respondents who did not worry about presenting in front of the class. In terms of gender, female respondents indicated more attention to visual aid was required during the teleconference format, believed the teleconference presentation format allowed for the same opportunity for feedback from the instructor as the formal presentation, were more likely to indicate they were concerned about speaking in front of the classroom during formal presentations, and were also more concerned about speaking during the teleconference than male respondents. Overall, results indicated the teleconference activity was perceived to be a practical alternative to the traditional face-to-face delivery method; however, females’ perceptions of discomfort across both delivery formats warrant further study.


Teleconference, face-to-face communication, oral communication, media richness

The views expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Air Force, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.

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