[Historic Information]

The 1998 Fall Semester Schedule of Classes says on page 40 under "Accounting"
that sections .03 and .32 of AC101, Introductory Accounting I, "will be taught
in a virtual classroom instead of in a physical classroom." It says that
"Interested students must read the full explanation on [the page you are
viewing] before registering". Following is the full explanation.

Loyola's First Virtual Course
Introductory Accounting I
Fall Semester 1998
Sections .03 (TR 3:05-4:20) and .32 (TR 4:30-5:45)
Instructor:       Prof. E. Barry Rice, MBA, CPA
Office:              Xavier Hall, Room 8
Office Phone:  (410)617-2478
Email:             Rice@Loyola.edu
   Questions and suggestions are welcome!
  • This is an experimental course.
  • All lectures will be presented in a virtual classroom via the Internet.
  • Classes will normally meet in a physical classroom once each week.
  • Resident students can use a computer lab or their dorm room.
  • Commuters can use a computer lab or an ISP from home.
  • Students in this course must be highly motivated learners.

 

This course will be taught using an asynchronous approach where students can receive lectures anytime, anywhere they have access to the Internet. They can, therefore, spend as much time as they need to grasp the lecture material. Problem sessions will be held in a physical classroom. Students have a choice
of taking one of my virtual classes or another professor's traditional class.

 

OBJECTIVE

The objective is to enable students to learn more accounting than they
currently do in a physical classroom. After almost thirty years of teaching
accounting, I have come to believe that the physical classroom lecture
approach has a flaw - all students in a class are force-fed the material at the
same rate. Students sitting in a classroom are typically quite heterogeneous.
Their aptitude for accounting ranges from poor to outstanding, their interest
in accounting ranges from none to great and their backgrounds for the course
range from inadequate to excellent. Because of these differences, professors
are forced to deliver the material at a pace somewhere between that which is
optimal for "under prepared" and "over prepared" students. The result is that
some students are over challenged and others are bored. The virtual classroom
approach will allow all students to master the lecture material at their own
pace.

HISTORY

Having used interactive multimedia for all my accounting courses since the fall
1992 semester, I am in an ideal position to upgrade all the computerized
materials I have developed during the past six years and move them to a virtual
environment. The interactive keypads which I have used so successfully to
provide feedback and motivate students to learn will now be on the screen
instead of in their hands. The multimedia which has enhanced student learning
so well will now be on the computer screen instead of on the classroom screen.
The timing of the delivery of the material will be entirely under the control
of each student. My voice, which for the past two years has come over the
classroom speakers, will now come over the computer speakers. And, the video
clips which I have use in the classroom will be available via the computer work
station.

DETAILS OF APPROACH

These are experimental classes in which all lectures will be presented in a
virtual classroom with problem sessions being presented in a physical
classroom.  This means that these Tuesday/Thursday classes will normally meet
in a physical classroom once each week. These weekly problem sessions will not
only give students a chance to check their solutions, but to also ask questions
about them and to get a clarification about anything they did not understand in
the virtual lecture.

If, in my judgment, students are not satisfactorily learning the material, the
experiment can be canceled at any time and lectures will be presented in a
physical classroom.

Resident students will be able to "attend" the virtual lecture by using their
own computer in their room or by going to a computer lab. Commuter students
will be able to attend the class from off campus if they have an Internet
service provider with at least 28.8 access. However, because the access speed
in the campus labs will typically be so much faster, they will probably find
it more satisfactory to go to a campus lab to attend class. Most lab machines
are being equipped with sound cards so students can plug in their earphones to
access the sound. Access to course materials will be controlled by ID numbers
and passwords.

Students who use their own computer will be required to use the Windows 95
operating system. All other required software can be downloaded free on the
Internet. They will use an Internet browser to obtain delivery of the
interactive multimedia lecture materials which will include text, audio and
animations as well as the video clips. The latter will be available via
streaming video.

The interactive materials go far beyond anything which can be developed in
PowerPoint. Asymetrix Toolbook will be used to program the materials which
will then be exported to HTML format for Web delivery. I am already an
experienced Toolbook developer but will take an intensive training course in

the spring to learn how to use the latest Toolbook tools. I will develop new
course materials over the summer relying heavily on materials I have already
developed.

All tests and the final exam will be given in the physical classroom.  All
exams will be given during the course times provided in the schedule of
classes. Course grades will be calculated based on the same factors I currently
use: tests, final exam, homework, keypad feedback and Internet assignments.

The courses will, in fact, be quite different from correspondence courses
where students do not interact with fellow students or their professor in the
same room. As mentioned, students will meet with classmates about once each
week in a physical classroom and they will also be able to interact with each
other via a LISTSERV mailing list. In addition to the weekly classroom
meetings, students will be able to interact with me via telephone. They will
also be able to meet with me during office hours which I will hold for at least
eight hours each week.

CAUTIONS

1. Students registering for this course must be highly motivated learners who
    are comfortable with computer technology, especially the Internet.
2. This is a very time-consuming, rigorous course. The fact that the lectures will
     be virtual will not make it easy.

REFERENCES

Many colleges and universities have begun or are in the process of beginning to
offer virtual classes using the Inter/intranet. The best source of pertinent
information I have found which supports the approach is in a scholarly research
paper at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/255wp.htm. It discusses the use of
asynchronous network courses to improve education and has links to Web sites
for colleges and universities which are using the approach. It also has links
to relevant research being done by organizations such as the Alfred P. Sloan
Foundation. The author of the paper is Dr. Robert Jensen, an accounting
professor at Trinity University which is a Loyola benchmark school. Jensen has
been recognized by the American Accounting Association as a leader in using
technology in accounting education.

Jensen quotes D.N. Langenberg, The Chancellor of the University System of
Maryland, from the September 12, 1997 issue of The Chronicle of Higher
Education, where he said "some of our traditional courses perhaps should no
longer meet in regularly scheduled class periods even if these courses are only
made available to resident students".

Jensen also cites Lanny Arvan, an economics professor at the University of
Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign who says "I have been teaching my undergraduate

[intermediate microeconomics] course using Asynchronous Learning Networks
(ALN) to enhance instruction. We have been using a conferencing program called
FirstClass to have students interact with each other, me, and on-line... Many
of us early adopters of ALN contend that 'it works,' --- students do better
under ALN than in the traditional approach. This essay is intended to provide
an economics framework for explaining what is going on here, across
disciplines, to suggest future directions for validating our contention, and to
aid instructors in thinking about how to use ALN in their course."

HOME PAGES

My current Introductory Accounting I course has a syllabus and a complete
course description available on its home page. This information should be
useful in making a decision about taking my course next fall even though
the current course is taught in a physical classroom.

Loyola's Department of Accounting home page