All posts by Bob Mocadlo

Bob Mocadlo – My Thoughts About OER

Hi, everyone.  Although I wasn’t aware of the official term “OER,” I was aware that some things existed that were open access.  The business school-specific education class that we took included some information about MERLOT and the availability of cases from there.  However, I didn’t realize that there were full comprehensive textbooks for some of the courses that I potentially might teach!  I found a few from BCcampus as well as Boundless.  The only catch is that these textbooks are generally for an introduction to accounting, which is just the first class of many that accounting students will need to take.

There are resources available for members of the American Accounting Association (our professional association) that can be used.  Cases are frequently developed and published in Issues in Accounting Education, many of which were designed to be used by fellow educators (generally with attribution).  In addition, many large accounting firms, knowing that accounting educators are the feeders into their firms, provide educational resources as well.

From the little I’ve had the time to look at, it definitely seems like there may be some value in terms of the cases that I might want students to work on.  However, I feel like there might be some limitations on my ability to use general resources like textbooks or slides, given that many universities (especially large public ones) may standardize textbooks across class sections.  However, given how standardized a lot of material in my field is, I definitely see a potential role for OERs, especially given how many students may start to value electronic or online resources that they can access from anywhere without needing to lug many books around, as I did over a decade ago!

Accounting Heutagogy?

In considering the second prompt, my immediate concern related to self-assessment and heutagogy is the student who is purely there for an A and nothing more.  (I think these students are becoming more and more common as grade inflation continues to rear its ugly head.)  If I’m teaching a introduction to financial accounting class, there’s three types of students in the class: those who definitely want to continue with accounting, those who are on the fence, and those who are there because they have to be.  Heutagogy would seem to work with the first two groups, but the third are probably the most likely to take the easy way out and set low goals for themselves.  I would even imagine that the students who self-select into accounting might be overly concerned with objective measures of performance.

I think that classes later in the curriculum might benefit more from heutagogy.  In particular, the topic of auditing is much more subjective in its content and application.  (Auditing, for those who don’t know, is the third-party verification of financial information so that outside parties, such as stockholders, can rely on the information.)  There are so many cases where the correct or incorrect decision is not clear, and as such, the self-set goals of the classes could be much more focused on the students’ involvement in the learning process as opposed to the standard “did you get the right answer” goal.

A particular example would be case-based learning, where students are put in a real situation and asked what they would do in the situation and why.  Afterwards, we would cover what actually happened and why.  This would allow the students to not only self-assess their progress, but even potentially explain why they might still stick with (or change) their decision, even given the known outcome.

In summary. it seems that the more subjective a class’s content is, the more suited it would appear to be for self-evaluation and heutagogy.  But I’d be happy to be wrong about this!

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.