Achievement and outcomes

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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A Diagnostic Test and Follow-Up Survey: A Practical Assessment Tool

Despite notoriously low attendance, Le Moyne College schedules classes for the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. As a result, the author usually searches for an activity that does not cover new lessons. But several years ago, he decided to try something different by conducting an experiment. On the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving week, he informed his Intermediate 301 class that I would be giving a diagnostic exam during the last class before their holiday break. I explained that the exam would cover the accounting cycle and that I did not expect them to prepare. Twenty-nine students (out of a total population of forty –three) came to class that day at either 3:30 PM or at 5:30 PM.
This paper describes the author’s experience and his conclusion that a diagnostic test is an excellent example of a course-embedded assessment 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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Electronic Portfolios as Assessment Tools

Growing professional demands on college graduates, coupled with the program assessment requirements for obtaining necessary program accreditations, create a need for assessment tools to assist faculty and staff in evaluating programs and their achievement of desired educational outcomes. Electronic portfolios provide an efficient and feasible means of evaluating student learning. This paper presents an overview of electronic portfolios, discusses using electronic portfolios as an assessment tool, and provides an example of an available electronic portfolio system that meets both student and program needs. This article is from the Accounting Instructors’ Report, an electronic journal that provides teaching tips and Read More…

Retention Strategies: Tackling Common Challenges

Guest Contributor Sande Johnson, Developmental Studies and College Success Specialist, Academic Services, Cengage Learning. About this time in the term, students start to drop various courses. It may be due to loss of interest or it may be because the material is beyond their ability. What can you do to stimulate interest and keep your students actively engaged in your course? Like our esteemed faculty in higher education, the Academic Services Consulting Group at Cengage Learning often has to address these very issues when launching into course development. We reach out to our instructional designers, editorial, and marketing partners who Read More…

The Potential Usefulness of Accounting Portfolios for Entry Level Accountants and Accounting Programs – A Concept Paper

During a recent curriculum assessment, the accounting faculty at UNCPembroke developed a checklist of the recommended competencies. They employed this checklist to determine in which course(s) specific competencies were covered.
As they aligned the student capabilities and skills suggested by the AAA, AICPA, and other professional associations with the various courses in their current accounting curriculum, the concept of an accounting portfolio emerged. Portfolios can demonstrate value-added skills that students have gained and that the accounting program has imparted. The accounting portfolio may also indicate where further improvement in the program is needed. The accounting portfolio would Read More…

Integrating Assessment of Student Learning into the Accounting and Finance Curriculum: A Course-Embedded Technology Project

The AACSB Eligibility Procedures and Standards for Business Accreditation (AACSB 2007), approved in 2003 and fully implemented in 2005, explicitly recognize the importance of assessment of student learning in the continuous improvement of the curriculum in its Assurance of Learning Standards. This change in the Assurance of Learning Standards requires all business schools (those currently accredited by AACSB and those seeking initial accreditation) to adapt their assessment activities to meet the new standards. In response to the new Assurance of Learning standards, we have developed a capital budgeting project appropriate for cost accounting, intermediate accounting, or financial management courses to assess students’ ability to use technology appropriate to their discipline.

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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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Accessibility: Advances in Text-to-Speech Open New Doors

An Interview with ReadSpeaker® CTO Fredrik Larsson Does the mere mention of text-to-speech (TTS) systems invoke memories of the robotic voice of the HAL 9000 computer in the epic 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey? The latest generation of TTS technology bears little resemblance to the systems that were in use in the 1960’s. In fact, recent advances in TTS features – particularly in the areas of voice quality, web-based access, and mobile compatibility – have transformed TTS from an accessibility-focused technology for the blind into an attractive, affordable tool for the general public. In the education space, it Read More…

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…