Last updated on September 19, 2023
Creating authentic learning experiences through instructor engagement and innovation
“When we arrive at the outcome of a project, our effort does not ‘betray’ us simply because it is a reflection of the work we put in.”
This is an old saying that highlights the importance of effort and accentuates the notion that our efforts do not betray us. This saying implies that the outcome of something is directly related to the effort we put into it.
With the extensive amount of research, planning, and remediation involved with course development, this saying has never been more true. To help provide an authentic learning experience, International Accounting (ACC 3750) was transformed from traditionally in-person to fully asynchronous with both course textbooks converted to Open Educational Resources (OER) and industry-aligned assessments built into each module.
Dr. Andrew Holt is a professor of accounting and earned his PhD in accounting at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK. He also holds an MSc in Accounting from the LSE and a BA (Hons) in Accounting from Kingston Polytechnic, UK. Dr. Holt’s research interests include international accounting, accounting for commercial real estate, small business accounting, and environmental accounting. He co-authored “Business Accounting”, one of the course textbooks for ACC 3750, which has been remediated to OER as part of the course development.
This course was developed from an eight-week version of ACC 3750 to a fully asynchronous online version. The purpose of this upper-level course is to prepare learners to explore the reasons for international differences in the regulatory framework for financial reporting. Dr. Holt developed assessments and resources to help prepare learners to interpret and analyze financial statements and annual reports prepared under a range of international accounting systems.
Open Education Resources
As part of the course development, Dr. Holt revised and developed both accounting textbooks to OER. Equal access to content provides students with a more equitable learning experience. The instructional designers spent extensive time remediating the content to be fully accessible with varied pictorial and verbal presentation of essential information.
The instructional design team built each chapter into the online course, providing multiple pathways to explore the content. Using OER for this course saves learners up to $189 and helps create an equivalent learning experience for free as compared to the expensive commercial resources.
The assignments in ACC 3750 were carefully crafted by Dr. Holt and seamlessly designed into Canvas by the design team to help create an authentic learning experience. This is shown through many of the group activities in the course. ACC 3750 was designed so that learners are in the same cohort for all group assignments. Working on group assignments with the same team members helps provide learners with a reliable support system and a channel to connect with their peers.
Some of the activities in the course include analyzing foreign financial statements such as Ted Baker, Rolls Royce, and even the Norwich City Football Club. Other assignments ask learners to analyze hypothetical scenarios created by Dr. Holt to determine appropriate accounting treatments. Learners are provided with the resources, accounting treatments, and exercises in the lectures to practice the concepts before attempting the activities. The assignments reflect real-world accounting incidents as they require professional judgment to justify the selection of an accounting treatment. This discourages the use of chatbots to generate assignment answers because it requires learners to defend their decisions, not only using appropriate accounting treatments and other academic resources provided in the course but also using good morale. This allows learners the creativity to explore a wide range of accounting treatments without feeling the pressure to select a “correct” answer.
The reality is that there are multiple correct answers that learners can deem appropriate so long as they can defend themselves with an ethical, fair judgment of their selected accounting treatment. This directly aligns with industry standards as many accountants rely on their professional judgment when preparing income statements, balance sheets, and reconciliation schedules.
Student support and instructor presence
Although it is often difficult to bring to life a course that has traditionally been in-person, that is not the case for ACC 3750. With the help of the design team, Dr. Holt was able to create instructional media to help animate the course. ACC 3750 now offers a strong instructor presence through lectures, tutorials, and module overview videos created within our CTLD studio. Establishing instructor presence in an online course helps set the tone and bring the course to life, which ultimately helps learners succeed by offering guidance in completing major assignments and explaining important concepts from class materials.
Through the activities and assignments, learners can connect to the content, the instructor, and their peers. Each major assignment is sequenced in a way that introduces learners to the content gradually. This includes added support through lecture videos to help break down content, address common roadblocks, and provide tips to succeed. Establishing a strong instructor presence through media helps to both animate the course and to ensure learner support. Dr. Holt also provides guidance in noticing plagiarism, noting common mistakes, and how to avoid them while completing course activities. The course includes a variety of resources and provides a clear communication plan to help learners succeed
Want to get involved?
One way to find help with implementing student support in your course is the CTLD Course Development Cycle. This is an intensive, but rewarding, process where an instructional designer will work with you over the course of several months to identify course objectives, develop learning activities, create a user-friendly course, record high-quality multimedia content, and much more.
Our instructional designers will help you build student support and implement them in your course. As compensation for the time and effort you spend developing your course, faculty are offered a $5,000 stipend for completing the development cycle. For courses that use OER, MSU Denver offers additional incentives.
For more information on the CTLD Development Cycle, as well as how to apply to join, please see our CTLD Course Development Cycle spotlight.