Revisiting the 'Dr. Fox' effect with Voice Intellect


Exciting lectures are often engaging and well-remembered years after university. To deliver a good lecture the lecturer will need to be prepared with the content and master the art of presenting. Research has shown that student performance is linked to lecture quality. Often at the end of the semester tertiary students are asked to fill up a survey about the subject and the lecturer. However, measuring lecture quality is a complex task and to date there has been limited research or avenues to draw benchmark upon. Current students are competent enough to digest content themselves and what draws them to a lecture is the lecturer’s ability to ‘present’ content and string meaningful activities Literature has evidenced that the mastery of presenting skills allows an educator to create a phenomenon called ‘educational seduction’. This phenomenon is also known as the ‘Dr. Fox effect’ widely studied in the 70s reportedly having direct effect on student outcomes. Despite holding such importance, presenting skills have been given limited formal emphasis at tertiary teaching due to the difficulty in forming good guidance to benchmarking for lecturers to abide by. Tangible requirements such as research and publications achievements are easier in comparison to mandate as key performance index. Lecturers who have mastered the nuances of delivery are inclined to modulate their lecture speed and volume, apart from infusing the content with a level of passion that resonates with their students.

Recent development in technology has enabled the possibility of measuring the ‘Dr Fox’ effect. Our tool, the Voice Intellect, is built on AI and machine learning capabilities which not only transcribes digital lecture recordings and but also provides data on how dynamic the presentation of the lecture was. This allows us the measure the ‘Dr. Fox’ effect. Even though there are many paralinguistics factors beyond lecture delivery that contributes to effective teaching, by quantifying the dynamism of lecture delivery VI could help lecturers improve their ability to present materials in an engaging manner and perhaps help form a guide on how to effectively deliver a lecture. This helps tremendously in improving student experience and combating attrition.