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Archive for the ‘Academics’ Category

MAS-aaa[New Orleans, LA] Today is Thursday, January 10, 2013.  I’m in New Orleans for a conference.

The Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association is holding its annual mid-year meeting.

The primary reason why academic organizations hold meetings is for professors to present papers.  The other reason why academic organizations hold meetings is provide a location for face to face networking.

I wonder if small academic conferences like this have outlived their usefulness.  Total attendance for this will be about 250, I think.  It is expensive to attend, ($1,300-1,600 depending on travel).  Can today’s world of digital communication and social media produce an acceptable on-line substitute?  I’m sure it can.

I am not a member of the Management Accounting section.  Twenty years ago, it was populated by researchers who focused on behavioral issues within businesses in a budgeting context.  Now, I’m not so sure.

Take a few minutes and go to this link to see the program for the current year.  Researchers have obviously moved on to different issues.  For the most part, however, I’m not sure these new issues are what I would recognize as Management Accounting.  I’ll try to have someone explain it to me at Friday’s luncheon.

Moreover, I’m not tempted to attend many of the the research presentations.  I’m here only to make a short presentation.

I’m presenting on Friday at 3:30 for 15 minutes.  I have created a simulation for students to compute their personal learning rate in an assembly or manufacturing context.  In my next blog post, I’ll write about what I presented.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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At first glance, this blog post appears to be fluff put forth to get a chuckle or laugh from you. There is a serious side to it, though.  Social media should be a subject of keen and intense interest for all financial professionals, be they out working or still at college.  Opinions, thoughts, ideas can go viral in this social media world.  Memes are one such channel for these opinions, thoughts and ideas.

In this blog post I exhibit a collection of memes on studying for tests.  Working professionals probably remember taking their own exams.  Current professors and students are now in crunch time just prior to final exams.

As defined by Merriam-Webster, a meme is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.”  In 2012, many of us think of it as an image or video passed from one social media user to another.

The study of memes is important, because memes open a window into the popular culture.  Memes that spread quickly reveal what a large number of  people think or believe.

I am an accounting professor, and what students think is of interest to me.  I performed Google image searches on key words related to studying.  Google results are structured to reveal the most clicked on images first.  All images presented in this blog post are thought to be in the public domain.

Most of these memes convey what older generations have called gallows humor.  Those who are about to be hanged are somehow able to find humor in their situation.

A consistent theme running through the various memes is that studying is painful.

(more…)

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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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Professors across the the country and around the world struggle with fighting student distraction in an age of BYOD (bring your own device).

In the following clip, a student goes retro in a very funny way.

I’m old enough to have been there and done that.

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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