Achievement and outcomes

Using 3D Virtual Worlds to Improve Outcomes and Engagement

An Interview with Nicole Yankelovich, CEO of WonderBuilders, Inc., Executive Director of the Open Wonderland Foundation, and Visiting Scientist, Center for Educational Computing Initiatives, MIT. You probably know at least a few professors who have successfully integrated 3D virtual worlds, like those enabled by Second Life, into their courses. On the other hand, you probably know many more who have not yet taken that leap. Fortunately, the technology behind immersive 3D virtual environments continues to evolve, with new capabilities, toolkits, and applications that help to lower the bar for adoption within the education space. The Open Wonderland Foundation, launched in Read More…


Online Learning and Assessment in Computing Courses

The high unemployment rates of the past few years have prompted many adults to return to school, to earn degrees or certificates, or simply to learn or refresh their computing skills. Many who are enrolled in degree or certificate programs also need training in basic computing skills in order to keep up with their classmates in campus-based or online courses. This need is especially acute among older adults in low income brackets, displaced workers, age 50 or older, who do not have access to the internet at home. For these learners, who may need to do Read More…


Increasing Success Rates for STEM-Focused Learners

According to recent government data, only 15% of all U.S. college students graduate with STEM-related degrees. At the same time, U.S. job market demand for STEM-related skills is at an all-time high, with an estimated 2.4 million new and replacement job openings expected through 2018, according to a 2011 study by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University. So why aren’t more college students seeking-out degrees, certificates, and other credentials in STEM-related fields, and how can institutions help their students identify best-fit academic paths to high-demand – and often high-paying — jobs? Owen Software, founded Read More…


What is Digital Literacy and Why is it Important?

Whether or not you had a chance to register for the Cengage Learning Course Technology Conference in March before it sold out, you still have opportunities to hear from some of the event’s speakers. This week, we’re sharing content from some of the conference presenters that can apply to anyone seeking to equip their learners with the skills they’ll need to be successful in the workplace.
In this video, Beverly Amer discusses what digital literacy means, and why it’s important to today’s learners and tomorrow’s employees. She talks about how we can use technology to support what Read More…


The Virtual Learning Environment: Student Use and Perceptions of its Usefulness

The rapid acceptance of and changes in information technology has meant that the pedagogical benefit of incorporating new technologies into subject delivery is not well understood and the non-discipline specific findings are inconclusive (Bonner, 1999; Brace-Govan & Clulow, 2000; Reeves, 1997; Smeaton & Keogh, 1999). Even though some studies have reported that improved learning outcomes result from heightened motivation and extended mental effort (Bryant & Hunton, 2000; Kember, 1995; Koh & Koh, 1999; Kozma, 1991), Ramsey (2003) concludes that the impact and use of technology on learning outcomes for students and faculty are not well understood. That this issue has not been well examined in the accounting literature (Bryant & Hunton, 2000) provides the motivation for this study to investigate how students utilise a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and second to identify student perceptions of its usefulness.
 
This study seeks to provide a platform for evaluating the pedagogical effectiveness of an accounting VLE by first ascertaining how students utilise this learning tool and second identifying student perception of the VLE as a learning tool.
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Perceptions of Efficacy Across Course Levels, Course Types, and Location in a Distance Learning Environment

During the last decade, technology has made a dramatic impact on the pedagogical environment of business schools across the country and this trend is likely to accelerate in future. Two major forms of technology-mediated learning that have emerged are: web based instruction and distance learning. Also, the number of part-time, off-campus, and non-traditional students is growing. The demands of family and work place often prevent such students from going back to campus on a full-time basis. Compression technologies, increased computing power and speed, high quality video transmission, and access to highspeed Internet and their declining costs, have made distance learning a viable medium of instruction. From an economic perspective, distance learning allows sharing of instructional costs among multiple sites, giving schools that implement distance learning programs a cost advantage (Yang 2006). It also gives the schools an opportunity to tap the market segment of non-traditional students and students residing in remote regions (Walsh and Reese 1995). Therefore, it is not surprising that an increasing number of universities, both large and small, currently offer courses and sometimes even entire degree programs in a distance learning environment. (Mackay and Stockport 2006).
 
Despite such widespread use of distance learning technology, there is scant evidence about students’ perceptions of the teaching environment in distance learning
courses. This paper examines responses to a survey of students enrolled in a variety of distance learning business courses. The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. First, various distance learning delivery formats are reviewed and the class environment in which distance learning courses are offered at a regional university is described. Sample selection procedure and descriptive statistics are provided in section 3. The fourth section provides a review of prior research and presents the hypotheses tested in this study. The results appear in section 5. Limitations of the study are pointed out in section 6. The final
section summarizes the results of the study.
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The Use of Peer Review to Develop Writing Skills in an Introduction to Accounting Class

For more than two decades, accounting professionals have called for improvements in the education and skill development of accounting students. This paper focuses on one approach to address the development of written communication skills, peer review of student papers. Peer editing or peer review has been widely used in composition and business communication classes, but it has not been widely adopted in accounting classes.

This paper briefly reviews the calls for improved written communication skills, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of peer editing of writing as a skill development tool, describes the application of peer review in an introduction to management accounting course, and includes documents that may be used to support a peer editing process.

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Building Sound Pedagogy into Integrated Online Course Solutions

An Interview with Kristen Ford, Director of Learning Design at Cengage Learning

Have you ever wondered what it takes to design and build a student-centric, integrated set of online resources and learning activities that can generate measureable improvement in student outcomes? Well, it certainly requires a lot of collaboration on the part of the design and development teams responsible for building the framework and the discipline-specific resources, but it also requires many hours of discussions with – and observations of — the instructors and students who will actually use the products. I had an opportunity to speak with Kristen Ford, Read More…


Improving Student Outcomes: The Role of Video

The use of video for educational purposes is exploding — from MOOCs to lecture capture tools — at the university level and in K-12 settings. A recently published case study from Kaltura, an open-source video platform provider mentioned in a recent Forbes.com post entitled “6 Fast-Growing Tech Companies1, describes how one instructor and his students are using the Kaltura platform to produce and share tutorials at The School of Physics at National University of Ireland – Galway (NUI). Dr. Oliver Ryan, a senior technical officer for the School of Physics, noticed that second-year Physics students were often Read More…


Aligning Objectives in Online Classes

Knowing what you want students to understand when they leave your course is great information to keep in mind, but how can you take your goals for learners and translate them into objectives that align with specific course activities and assessments? Even beyond that, how can you write those objectives so they encourage activities that promote active learning, engagement, and higher-order thinking skills? Share with us how you align your objectives in online courses with course activities in the comments section below. Watch and listen to The Instructor’s Perspective on Aligning Objectives in Online Classes, a narrated presentation by Read More…