From Idea Pitch to Business Brief

This paper presents two integrated course assignments – one for individuals and one for small groups – that encourage students to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset within the context of a managerial accounting principles course. The assignments consist of individual students preparing competition-quality idea pitches, several of which are then selected for development by student groups into business briefs addressing issues that are problematic to microentrepreneurs. These active and experiential learning assignments provide an efficient, engaging, and fun way to help achieve entrepreneurial mindsetting and a variety of other learning objectives.   Contributors: Jill E. Christopher, DBA, MBA, BSBA, Ohio Northern University
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Activity: Using Mnemonics as a Memory Tool

Though many assignments and examinations are designed to test students’ higher-order thinking skills, you do often need to ensure that they know and are able to recall key facts, processes, systems, or structures that relate to their mastery of a particular topic. As a result, they’ll often find themselves working hard to commit those crucial pieces of information to memory. And as hard as they work, they may often be in need of a system or a tool that helps them recall the information at the time they most need it. As Linda Wong writes in Essential Read More…

Using OutKast on Tour: An Instructional Mini-Case for Learning Accrual Accounting Concepts

“OutKast on Tour” is a classroom resource that enables students to understand the essence of accrual accounting. It covers concert revenue recognition for a band and the corresponding expense recognition for three purchasers of concert tickets.

This problem is designed for use early in the introductory accounting course: after the second chapter for most Accounting Principles textbooks. After completing two chapters, most students understand concepts relating to revenue and expense recognition regarding transactions for which cash transfers (receipts and payments) occur either simultaneous to or after revenue and expense transactions. Using OutKast on Tour enables students to grasp concepts relating to cash transfers that occur prior to revenue and expense recognition. This serves as a foundation for understanding prepaid expenses, unearned revenues, adjusting entries, and other accrual accounting issues (that are covered in the third chapter of most Accounting Principles textbooks). Students learn the following fundamental concept: under accrual accounting: the timing of revenues and expense recognition is not dependent on the receipt of cash (for revenues) or payment of cash (for expenses).

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Understanding Management Control in a Small Business: An Entrepreneurial Micro-Business Case

This case can be used to help undergraduate accounting students understand risks and controls in a very simple business, a hot dog cart. This case is appropriate for use in first-year accounting. For instance, it is relevant at the point in financial accounting where internal control is covered or in managerial accounting where business objectives, processes, risks, and controls are covered. An objective is to provide an easily understood scenario for students with no, or limited, business experience to introduce the concept of enterprise risk management and related controls.  Read More…

A Practice Set for Use With the Cognitive Apprenticeship Approach to Teaching Introductory Accounting and Tests of its Effectiveness

The objective of this project was to develop a short practice set to be used as a culminating project in an introductory accounting course and used in a manner consistent with the cognitive apprenticeship approach to teaching. In the cognitive apprenticeship model, the educational process starts with students following and observing the work of an expert. Following that, students work independently but can access the help and support of the expert if needed. Finally the students reflect on the work done and identify any deficiencies. Read More…

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

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. Read More…

Implementation of the Wall Street Journal Project in Intermediate Accounting Courses: A Follow-Up

Robert Morris University (RMU) offers a bachelors degree in accounting and has established a good reputation for preparing students for entry into the work force. RMU
is successful in placing graduates in a variety of accounting positions ranging from public accounting, to management accounting, to internal auditing, to government.
Krause (2006) reports that the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) project gives students an awareness of emerging professional issues, an understanding of the importance of staying current, and improves their written communication skills. Use of the WSJ project in Intermediate Accounting courses that I have taught also demonstrates to students that they are capable of reading and understanding the WSJ, that the topics we discuss in class are relevant both to the practice of accounting and to business in general and that ethical business behavior is very important, if not critical, in the current business environment.
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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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Using Analogies to Help Students Learn Fundamental Accounting Concepts in the First Week of the First Accounting Course

Hanson and Phillips (2006) provide evidence that using analogies can be a powerful method for teaching accounting concepts. Prior research (Gentner 1989; Ross 1984) has shown that people often develop analogies that share superficial similarities between the source topic (what the student already knows) and the target topic (what the student is attempting to learn). When students first learn about business balance sheets, they often draw upon their pre-existing knowledge and form an analogy between the business balance sheet and personal net worth. This choice can be very helpful, but part of their pre-existing knowledge does not apply to the business balance sheet. Zook (1991) has demonstrated that students may focus on irrelevant features when analogies are used. Thus, it is important that students understand the parts of the analogy that can be helpful.
Paris and Glynn (2004) demonstrate that analogies are more effective when they are elaborate. Elaborate analogies fully elaborate on the structural features of a target
topic that are also present in a source topic. They show that elaborate analogies contribute to students’ more fully comprehending new concepts. This paper describes an
elaborate analogy that may be used during the first week of a first financial accounting course to help students understand fundamental accounting concepts. This analogy is used in the form of two related in-class exercises that may be used in a single day or used on separate days.

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Learning What NOT to Do

We all know the power of a good example. It can serve a model for our own efforts and increase our confidence that we’re setting out on the right track.

Perhaps you already provide exemplars when you assign projects, in order to help students see and understand your expectations. But students may not realize that a thoughtful critique of negative examples can also be instructive. To demonstrate this principle to your students, download an exercise from Dr. Constance Staley’s 50 Ways to Leave Your Lectern, which offers a helpful way to teach your students through “mistakes.”