Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Online Delivery of Accounting Courses: Student Perceptions

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Online Delivery of Accounting Courses: Student Perceptions

Article excerpt


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. All of the students in the graduate course agreed that the online delivery of the course was as effective or more effective than a traditional course that meets in a classroom and all of the graduate students indicated that in the future they would prefer to take more online courses, compared with traditional courses. Students in the undergraduate courses were slightly less enthusiastic about online delivery; overall, approximately 75% of such students indicated that the online delivery of the courses was as effective or more effective than a traditional course. Further, unlike the students in the graduate course, less than one-half of the combined students in the two undergraduate courses indicated that they would prefer to take an online course versus a traditional course in the future. The authors agree that online delivery appears be an effective alternative to physically meeting students in a traditional classroom setting but also believe, in this case, that the fully online delivery was more appropriate for the graduate course compared with the two undergraduate courses. The authors discuss several issues related to teaching the three online courses that accounting instructors may want to consider before undertaking such a teaching approach.


As accounting enrollments grow, the number of qualified accounting faculty decline, and the diversity of student profiles widens, accounting programs may be able to adapt to and harness technological innovation in order to create more efficient and user-friendly ways of delivering course content. Technology, specifically as it relates to computers and the internet was encouraged in the previous decade by many as offering great potential for enhancing higher education (Bonner & Walker, 1994; Drucker, 1997; Ewell, 1994; Geary & Rooney, 1993; Gilbert, 1995). However, it is generally accepted among faculty members who have taught online courses that such courses are often more demanding of time and resources compared with traditional courses. Apparently, even though such course may create added burdens for faculty, higher education administration appears to have a keen interest in pursuing online delivery. For example, over fifty business schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business currently offer an online graduate degree program (U.S. News & World Report, 2004) and over 200 universities currently offer at least some portion of their accounting coursework online (Bryant, 2005). And it appears that growth of online education will probably continue. For example, the University of Illinois plans to enroll 70,000 students in its online programs by 2018 (Foster, 2007).

One aspect of concern about online course delivery will certainly be how students perform in such courses compared with those courses that meet in a traditional classroom setting. Prior research has been inconclusive regarding the effectiveness of on-line courses (Bernard, et al., 2004). Further, there has not been much written on blended courses, that is courses that combine classroom meetings with online instruction. (Young, 2002; Aycock, Garnham, and Kaleta, 2002; Waddoups and Howell, 2002).

In one study of student performance in hybrid versus online courses, Robertson and Clark (2007) examined the performance of students in three different sections of an accounting principles course: one section was delivered purely online and the other two were blended sections which employed traditional faceto-face class sessions along with various web based tools. …

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