online learning

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…


Essential Digital Resources for Workforce Development Programs

The technology resources that are available to today’s workforce development programs are a far cry from the resources that were available just a few years ago. The demands of industry-specific training programs, especially those designed to help close the gaps in the middle-skills job market, have driven the development of digital tools and media that contribute to measurable improvements in completion rates and outcomes. Market pressures and incentives, such as high unemployment rates, the scarcity of workers with related skills, and the time pressures of federal grants, such as TAACCCT, have encouraged course content producers to accelerate the development of digital resources 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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Strategies for Effectively Teaching Online Accounting Courses

Kung (2002) stated that distance learning courses can be an effective means to acquire knowledge outside of the classroom environment for many academic disciplines. Students who choose to take online courses might do so simply for career development. Time constraints, distance, and finances could also be other factors why students enroll in distance education. Since many students will often be non-traditional students working full time, taking traditional accounting courses might prove to be extremely difficult considering their schedules and increased responsibilities. Additional motivators could include the quality of the instruction and the material provided (The changing, 1993).
 
Sometimes students will choose distance education courses because of the technology perks instead of the need for education and may choose distance learning (and
particularly online accounting courses) for the wrong reason (Katz, 2002; Vamosi, Pierce & Slotkin, 2004). If students choose online accounting courses for technological convenience rather than a more appropriate course delivery for their individual learning style, student success might be compromised (Haugen & Becker, 2005; Hogan, 1997; The changing, 1993). It would help faculty members who teach online for the first time (or more) to understand major student issues from the perspective of online students. After teaching her first online course, the author (in addition to conducting several research projects on student success in distance learning) completed 5 online graduate accounting courses at two different universities in order to better understand what it can be like on the student side of a distance learning course. This paper summarizes those efforts.

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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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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…


Helping Online Learners Assess Potential Distractions

Yesterday, we discussed ways that you can help reduce distractions so that students can stay focused on your presentations. However, a unique set of potential distractions awaits the online learner. Despite their best efforts to concentrate fully during a class session, online learners may face temptations that are not within the immediate reach of a student taking an on-site course. In such cases, an everyday item (such as a half-finished novel or a pile of laundry) can waylay every intention they had for devoting their full attention to their studies. Thus, if you are teaching an online course, you may Read More…


Eight Things to Look for When Choosing Integrated Course Solutions

As publishers continue to move their titles from basic eTextbooks and online resources to highly-integrated whole-course solutions, the array of choices in their catalogs – including eTextbook formats and digital resources — can be overwhelming. A new white paper discusses the customer usage data that has inspired publishers to accelerate their delivery schedules for personalized, integrated course solutions. Here is a list of what to look for when evaluating the latest generation of digital resources: A streamlined, efficient reading experience and a cohesive, useful set of resources that is available to the student, on demand, in order to make the learning Read More…


Promoting Student Civility: Online and Offline

Student civility may seem like a common-sense issue for students to work out on their own, but encouraging professionalism with simple rules for respect and consideration for student interactions online and offline can go a long way toward fostering an environment conducive to learner engagement. Here, we offer tips to keeping your students’ online or on-ground class interactions respectful and professional from Dave Ellis’ , and from Ryan Watkins and Michael Corry’s E-Learning Companion: A Guide to Online Success, Fourth Edition. In on-ground classes, set some ground rules up front for students to agree to adhere to in Read More…


Engaging Your Learners & Channeling Distractions

This week, we are featuring content from presenters at Cengage Learning’s upcoming Engage 2013 Conference. Today, we’ll hear from Professor Corinne Hoisington. In this video she shares an idea that you can put into action to engage learners at the start of each class period. She also offers tips on channeling potential technology distractions into opportunities to create an active learning environment.  [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt5PBd6XwcI?wmode=Opaque] What types of activities do you do in your classrooms — on-ground, online, or blended — to get your learners engaged in the material? Share your thoughts and ideas in the Comments section below. Corinne Hoisington, Read More…