Thursday 14 November 2013

Paper Review: Online Delivery of Accounting Courses: Student Perceptions

Watters, M. P., & “Jep” Robertson, P. J. (2009). Online Delivery of Accounting Courses: Student Perceptions. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 13(3), 51–57.

Summary
The authors taught introductory undergraduate, upper-division undergraduate and graduate accounting courses online using Tegrity Campus 2.0 integrated with a learning management system (WebCT, Angel) to prerecord and publish all course lectures and provide all other course-related content to students in the three accounting courses. Students in the three courses could access the archived video presentations over the Internet or burn the presentations to a CD or a flash memory drive thus allowing students to view the digital videos at any time and as many times as desired. Following were the findings of the survey conducted to understand student perceptions:
  • Students in the undergraduate courses were slightly less enthusiastic about online delivery.
  • Student perception of the effectiveness of online delivery is in some way correlated with factors that lead to higher student success and performance, such as motivation, maturity, intellectual ability, etc.
  • Student perceptions regarding effectiveness are not inconsistent with their performance on course exams.
  • The percentage of students indicating that they believed that they had accepted more responsibility for their own learning was 37% in the introductory course, 21% in the upper-level course, and only 17% in the graduate course.
  • Student responses to the question "What did you like best about the online course" had two main themes: (1) convenience and (2) flexibility and effectiveness.
  • Student responses to the question "What did you like least about the online course" were almost all related to two themes; inability to interact with the professor and fellow students in real-time and technical problems with computer, network, and/or software.
  • All of the graduate students indicated that they would prefer an online course compared with a traditional course. Only 52% of students in the upper-division course and 41% of students in the introductory course indicated that they would definitely select an online course using Tegrity over a traditional course.
The authors have concluded the paper by mentioning that the differences in student "satisfaction" (perceived course effectiveness) noted in the undergraduate and graduate courses may be a function of several factors including educational attainment, age and maturity, motivation, learning experience, learning style, and prior exposure to online teaching. The overall conclusion is that the graduate students were more mature, confident, and motivated with significant prior educational attainment compared with the other students in the study and therefore were better suited for the online delivery of the course.

Assessment
Though this paper seems to be weak in statistical analysis of data, the authors have shared their wisdom based on experience in this paper. The conclusion drawn in the paper needs more investigation to validate for its general applicability.

Reflection
Though not supported by rigorous empirical research, authors have identified following determinants for student satisfaction for online learning as educational attainment, age and maturity, motivation, learning experience, learning style, and prior exposure to online teaching. There is research opportunity to test these hypotheses on larger student base.

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