Anecdotally, most instructors can appreciate that students learn more effectively when they are engaged and involved in the educational process. Creating a learning environment that fosters involvement can be a particular challenge in accounting. As educators in the domain of business, we have natural applications that can demonstrate how the concepts we discuss in class can affect what really happens in business. Since many students have limited experience in business and find it difficult understanding how accounting concepts might be important to them, simulations or other types of activities can help to “place the assignment in an authentic perspective” (Seaton and Boyd, 2008, 110).

We have developed an activity-based costing application using olive oil production as the base to help students understand the manufacturing process. Using a short video, students can immediately identify the collection of activities that ultimately comprise the cost of a bottle of olive oil and understand how the costs involved are created.

This article is from the Accounting Instructors’ Report, an electronic journal that provides teaching tips and insights to those who teach accounting and other business courses.


Karen S. Cravens, The University of Tulsa
Elizabeth Goad Oliver, Washington & Lee University

Read An Activity-Based Costing Application Using a Video of Olive Oil Production.