Bob Mocadlo

I’m afraid that given my lack of experience, my post will not be as long or well-researched as Daniel’s!  Regardless, I think my primary motivation to teach in an online classroom is the flexibility to learn anywhere, anytime.  I’m very interested in the idea of a flipped classroom; given that accounting (especially introductory accounting) tends to not be very discussion-based, it would be nice to have the ability to post lectures for students to watch at whatever time is most convenient for them and to use the normal in-class time to work on problems and answer questions.  In addition, students’ ability to engage in asynchronous questions/answers via online forums would allow for students to answer other students’ questions.  And, of course, there’s the advantage that lectures may not need to be updated from semester to semester, saving preparation time as well.

Given what I mentioned, I think that these methods will help students to learn because it allows for more interactivity between the students and the content (e.g. quizzes during or after the lectures, more sophisticated ways to interact with visuals than simple PowerPoint presentations).  Linking the course content to real-world content would also help make some of the topics we cover more relevant and timely.

The biggest challenge that I see with online teaching is ensuring that students do not collaborate or cheat on assessments, given that there is obviously no way to observe them while they are doing these.  Having the quizzes draw from a pool of questions and/or having more assessments in the classroom might reduce this problem, but it may reduce the hoped-for effectiveness of online assessments.

19 thoughts on “Bob Mocadlo

  1. Bob I think you are a braver man than me, re thinking of principles of accounting in an online setting. All kidding aside, my personal experience with courses such as principles of accounting or beginning calculus is that the need for instantaneous feedback married to rote repetition (and memorization) of methods and formulas is the secret of success for these types of courses. As you perceptively pointed out, these “beginning” types of courses do not lend themselves to expression or adaptive constructs. Perhaps interspersing real life glimpses of how principles of accounting actually matter in later learning and careers at regular intervals with the lessons would engage the learners to a greater degree.
    In addition, your concern about collaboration/cheating on assessments maybe where the idea that more work when you teach online comes to fruition. Meaning, perhaps you can mitigate the collaboration/cheat prospect by using existing software that requires completion of a test/assessment in a specific amount of time or it is void (i.e. the time from opening the test to its completion – imagine a version of the timer software that limits your decision time when you purchase concert tickets online, but used for the time limit of the exam/assessment. An additional technique that can be used alone or with the timer idea is to augment the exam questions and/or situations by a small amount to provide the learners with a virtual same assessment palate and virtual same necessity to show a grasp of the principles, but enough variance to mitigate collusion. This would require more time for the faculty in terms of pre-course orientation and also in assessment/test development.

  2. Bob, I saw you interest in the flipped classroom model and posted an article a colleague of mine wrote on the subject.

    Joseph Drasin

  3. Great points in your post, Bob. You mention linking the content to real-world content—this is a very powerful strategy that is oftentimes not used. I remember sitting in a very notes-focused math course thinking, what does any of this have to do with me or the real world? Had my instructor taken the time to make those relevant connections, I likely would have done well in the course…and maybe would have even enjoyed it.

    You also mention a concern with cheating. Unfortunately, it is much easier to cheat in the online environment; however, steps can be taken to lessen the chances, like camera verification. Most online courses provide open-book/open-notes exams. This puts less pressure on the student, perhaps lessening the urge to cheat. Personally, I am not a big fan of objective-style standard exams. I understand their place, but work to avoid them where possible. Instead, project-based assessments tend to not only reduce the chances of cheating, they likely are a more meaningful assessment to the learner.

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