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From the AICPA:

AICPA Honors Annette Nellen
with Arthur J. Dixon Memorial Award

Professor Annette Nellen, San Jose State University

Professor Annette Nellen, San Jose State University

Washington, D.C., Nov. 6, 2013 –Annette Nellen is the recipient of the 2013 Arthur J. Dixon Memorial Award, the highest honor bestowed by the accounting profession in the area of taxation.  The award, given by the Tax Division of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), was presented today at the AICPA’s Fall Tax Division Meeting in National Harbor, Md.

Click here to read the press release in its entirety.

Professor Annette Nellen, San Jose State University, surely deserves this honor. Her views on taxation are widely disseminated–via more than 250 articles, numerous testimonials before government panels, on multiple web sites, and her blog21st Century Taxation.

I applaud the AICPA for exercising good judgment in assigning the award to Professor Nellen.

I congratulate Professor Nellen for accomplishing so very much in her special career.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht


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Changing With The Times

[Spartanburg, SC]  I am sitting in a USC Upstate computer lab as I write this.  Why?

My students are taking a test.  Instead of forcing them work everything by hand with a calculator, I’m letting them work any part of the test on a MS Excel spreadsheet.  When done, they can e-mail their file, and turn in anything they wrote by hand on the original test copy.

One of the courses I’m teaching this semester is Intermediate Accounting 2.  The focus of this course is on the right side of the balance sheet.  The first topics are accounting for loans and bonds.  I emphasize amortization tables to aid in generating numbers for financial statements.  I also emphasize using spreadsheets and good techniques (i.e., a diamond organization and using the round function).   So when it came time for the test, some students asked if they could work appropriate parts on a spreadsheet.

Concordia College students asked for the same accommodation a year ago.  Everyone there was happy with the experience, so I’m trying it again.

This is the first accounting or finance class in which my students get to use Excel.  Wow!  Very unfortunate, IMHO.

Professors need to adjust to the times.  I’ve been using spreadsheets in class since 1984 at Andrews University.  Why not emphasize them so much students will need them as an essential tool to take an exam.

Oh, I also have a series of spreadsheet assignments for each upper level accounting course I teach.  I’m the only accounting prof at my school to do so.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Nearly a month ago I was informed that my contract is not to be renewed at USC Upstate.  This puts me back in the job market for accounting professors, but at a time when most schools already have made their hiring decisions for next year.

Why am I departing USC Upstate?  No reason was given, but a sudden change in deans has brought in a dean who does not want to proceed with a strategic move incorporating social media.

I am saddened by the prospect of leaving USC Upstate, as I have grown to love the students.

Ideally, I would get hired by a school which is interested in (1) strengthening its brand through use of various social media platforms, and (2) emphasizing professional use of social media to its students.  And yes, continue to teach undergraduate accounting students.  Accounting faculty recruiting committees, though, are interested in ability to teach accounting and generate academic publications.

I would love to end up at a school that wants a social media enabled accounting professor.  It can be a non-tenure track position.  If you can suggest a school to which I can apply, please send me an e-mail (albrecht@profalbrecht.com).

For my qualifications, please read my C.V.

Debit and credit –  – David Albrecht

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Flipping

It’s official, I’m a flipper. The Accounting Today commented on my work in flipping the classroom. I’ve been doing it for years, predating the 2007 figure in the image below. In this post, I explain what is flipping the classroom.

What is a flipper? I’m not talking about the dolphin named Flipper. Nor am I talking about a 1920s flapper, nor a basketball flopper.

In a flipped classroom, students study theory at home and come to class for the how-to. To give the students the theory (and the why), professors digitize their lectures (usually via video or audio). Students are supposed to study these.
Now to present an infographic by Knewton and Column Five Media that does a fine job of summarizing the approach.

Flipped Classroom
Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

Flipping the classroom works well in college, and it works great in collegiate accounting courses. It is the foundation of my becoming a master teacher.

by David Albrecht

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Many of the business schools in the United States are accredited by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).  Generally speaking, AACSB accreditation is dominated by larger B-schools who are able to attract doctorally trained business faculty.  I have been at AACSB schools for most of my career.

When B-schools are up for accreditation or renewal, one of the usual problem areas is assurance of learning.  An evaluation of assurance of learning addresses whether students learned what they were supposed to learn, and how well.  It is a problem area because no professor likes to do it, so most don’t.

Assurance of learning can take place at the program level or course level.  For accounting programs, many schools rely on the passage rate of their students on the CPA exam.  This of course is a very diffuse measure, as student performance on the CPA exam is affected by many factors other than what happens in a student’s recent course of study, and not necessarily by what happened in the students accounting school.

There are problems with an evaluation of assurance of learning at the course level, also.  One such problem is that learning for the long run is considered by some as a desirous goal.  But surveying students a few years after a course ends is difficult.  Perhaps because of the many problems, and because it is a lot of work, most professors do not generate an assessment of learning for their courses.  I think they should.  What follows is what I do.

I evaluate assurance of learning as I go along during a course.  My blog essay today is based on the assumption that my course is set up to teach what is supposed to be taught.  Although I’m not doing it here, evidence for this stage of the evaluation can be gathered from the course syllabus and its section on detailed course learning outcomes.

The basics of my evaluation of assurance of learning from within a course is to gather evidence of measurements (scores and/or grades) from summative tests and projects (after learning has taken place and where letter grades are assigned) to form an opinion as to whether student learning has taken place for each specific course learning objective.  Wow, that is a long sentence.

In the following report on my evaluation of assurance of learning for my recent cost accounting course, you can see how I’ve used numeric scores from each test question (or group of questions) to assess whether each course learning outcome has been satisfactorily met.

Albrecht Report on Evaluation of Assurance of Learning
for recent cost accounting test.

I will release the test with answers later today.

Of course, one might question what test question scores really mean.  Much of the time I log and count each different student answer, and list how many points were awarded for that answer.  Although I have not done it for this test (hey, I’m tired already), it is the only way of documenting what level of student performance has actually taken place on the test.  Rest assured, I have been doing it for years.  And, I don’t use multiple choice questions, only problems and questions requiring written answers.

You might ask, is all of this really necessary?  Well, such reports are in many ways like auditor work papers.  And yes, they are necessary.  But as I said, no professor likes to do it, and most professors don’t do it.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Cheating.  About 99.9% of humanity does it at one time or another. It’s common in education.  It’s common in business.  It’s common everywhere.

Accounting is one profession where honesty and integrity is part of the job description.  Yet, cheating exists.  A friend, former accountant and CFO Sam Antar, orchestrated much of the splashiest fraud of the 1980s at Crazy Eddie. Accountant cheating, as in financial statement manipulation, is pandemic.

In my surfing, I came across a website with this catchy banner:

Pic credit: WeTakeYourClass.com

WeTakeYourClass will take your on-line class and guarantee at least a grade of B.  It says it will get you an A 99% of the time. It specializes in taking math, business and sciences.  It specifically mentions accounting.

It is frustrating for me to know that while I spend my life trying to teach students to do the right thing, there are people trying to get them to do the wrong thing.

Pic credit: WeTakeYourClass.com

The site claims to get a student an A about 99% of the time, and it also claims to be risk free to the student. Are they being honest about cheating?

A comment to a similar story at Carpe Diem says, “I … found out that there are many sites that offer this service. One quotes a fee a low as $695 for grad level courses and only $430 for undergrad economics courses.”  Hey, that’s affordable.

If you are a student and are reading this, please don’t do it.

I prefer F2F classes where a student can look you in the eye while he/she cheats.  It’s more honest that way.

Thanks to Jim Ulvog for the tip.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht


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A meme is an image or recording packaged in such a way as to communicate a message or capture the fancy of those who see/view/hear it.  It is communicated via the Internet.   Their explosive impact has come of age in today’s social media world.

A few minutes ago I received an e-mail from Auntie Bev, into which she had pasted several meme images.  One caught my eye, and I’ve since been able to determine that it’s a true viral phenomenon, posted to thousands of blogs and Facebook accounts.

I’m not sure about the message of this meme.  Perhaps it is that some cheaters are unstoppable.  Or, masterful cheating is admirable.  Perhaps the message is that because cheating is unstoppable, it’s OK to do it.

Using my screen capture utility, I have snipped the following image from another viral meme.  It delivers quite a different message.

I suppose the message for this one is that opportunistic cheating is everywhere.  Or, it might be that cheating is due to teacher carelessness.  Whatever, the meme is funny.  Darn kids.  If this one would only try to learn as much as he tries to cheat.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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