Using Social Networking Sites in Accounting Education

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Presentation "Using Social Networking Sites in Accounting Education: Results of an Experience in the Bologna Context" at the British Accounting Association – Accounting Education SIG, Annual Conference, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland, 26-28 May 2010.

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Using Social Networking Sites in Accounting Education

  1. 1. Using Social Networking Sites in accounting education: results of an experience in the Bologna context José Luis Arquero University of Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain arquero@us.es Esteban Romero-Frías University of Granada, Granada, Spain erf@ugr.es BAA SIG Dublin 2010
  2. 2. Social media technologies such as blogs, microblogs, digital videos, podcasts, wikis and social networks, have seen a dramatic increase in adoption rates, especially among new generations. The so called Web 2.0 services are remarkably effective in connecting people and in facilitating the exchange of information. These tools are described as social media technologies or social software, underlining their ability to facilitate the establishment of relationships and the development of networks. BACKGROUND
  3. 3. “the reality is that students are already using social networking sites (SNS) and the educators have the choice to work with or against them. The advantage of the former strategy is that it is possible to openly address concerns over Internet safety or time spent online, attempting to provide guidance in such areas” Pegrum (2009, p. 27-28) Social software characteristics and SNS in particular fit well the requirements of a social constructivist approach to education. Social network sites (SNS), such as Facebook or MySpace, have proved to be extremely popular among students. BACKGROUND
  4. 4. 4 INSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT Bologna Process Digital Society Impacts → transversal and non technical skills → lifelong learning scenario → digital networked learning context
  5. 5. 5 Personal skills:  self-management  self learning  professional skepticism IFAC: Objectives of education International Education Standards (IES 3) [previous research: Arquero et al. (2001), Hassall at al. (2005), Milner and Hill (2007), etc.] Interpersonal and communication skills:  work in teams  present, discuss, report and defend views through different types of communication  listen and read effectively ACCOUNTING EDUCATION
  6. 6. 6 Which teaching methodologies could educators use? (IFAC, Intro to IES, par. 37)  “(c) adapting instructional methods and materials to the ever-changing environment in which the professional accountant works”  “(e) using technology creatively and quality issues for e-learning”  “(f) encouraging students to be active participants in the learning process” ACCOUNTING EDUCATION
  7. 7. 7 Non technical skills Multiple teaching methodologies Digital context Lifelong learning Collaborative learning WEB 2.0 tools Social Network(ing) Sites
  8. 8. 8 The Project → Objective: developing skills using a SNS to extend the physical class (social constructivist perspective) → Tool: a private SNS in the platform Ning → Participants: more than 140 students adscribed to 2 groups on International Accounting → When: February-July 2009 → Where: University of Granada (Spain) and wherever you can get online
  9. 9. 9 SNS - Homepage
  10. 10. 10 SNS – Network visualization - Contact with members - Sense of community
  11. 11. 11 SNS – RSS feeds - Automatically updated International Accounting news
  12. 12. 12 SNS – Discussion Forum - Main instrument to drive the class: materials, tasks, questions, etc.
  13. 13. 13 SNS – Chat - Synchronous communication tool
  14. 14. 14 SNS – Groups - Private space for members of the group
  15. 15. 15 SNS – Blogs - Free expression of the interests of the members (not subject related) - Comments
  16. 16. 16 SNS – My personal page - Digital Identity
  17. 17. 17 Html widgets and contents - Google Docs and Spreadsheets - Youtube videos - Google calendar, etc.
  18. 18. 18 TASKS in the SNS → Digital literacy: creating contents, commenting, adding friends, embeding videos, etc. → Searching online accounting resources and analysing them critically. → Discussing publicly a professional article in the forum. → Elaborating a practical case to show how to apply a particular IAS/IFRS (individual assignment but group presentation).
  19. 19. 19 Research Questions  Can SNSs contribute significantly to an active engagement of the students on their own learning process?  Can SNSs facilitate the integration of students into work teams and to collaborative learning under a social constructivist pedagogy?  Can SNSs contribute to a better achievement of the academic objectives of the subject?
  20. 20. 20 Data collection → Questionnaire: May – June 2009 → Interviews: June 2009 → Exploratory discussions in the forum: April 2009 → Google Analytics: February - July 2009 Other sources of informationOther sources of information → Quantitative data about user behaviour: February - July 2009 → Grades database: Feb-June 2009
  21. 21. 21 Results  105 responses to online questionnaire (145 in SNS & 160 in the course)  Sex: 68% female.  Age: from 19 to 32 (mean of 22).  86% registered in a SNS previously  only 12% rated their ability to use internet tools as “low”  87% are online at least once a day  82% at home & 12% at university  71% use laptop vs 29% desk computers
  22. 22. Table 4. Active role of students Mean Std. Dev. % agreem. % disagreem. The use of the SNS makes me feel more involved in the subject than a classic scheme. 4,18 0,653 88,35% 0,97% The use of the SNS allows me to know and use tools that are useful to keep my professional knowledge up to date in the future. 4,03 0,675 82,69% 1,92% The use of the SNS allows me to learn on my own by gathering additional information, consulting other resources, etc. 3,93 0,683 82,86% 4,76% The SNS allow students to approach the teaching staff more easily (to ask questions, doubts etc.). 4,65 0,537 99,03% 0,97% The use of the SNS allows students to manage their own time and prepare the contents of the subject in a more flexible way. 4,20 0,546 93,27% 0,00%
  23. 23. Table 5. Collaborative aspects of the learning process Mean Std. Dev. % agreem. % disagree m. The use of the SNS allows all members to benefit from the contributions published by their peers. 4,34 0,536 97,06% 0,00% The use of the SNS encourages that other students help solving questions and difficulties of their peers. 4,21 0,635 92,16% 1,96% The use of the SNS fosters the diffusion of the own ideas and points of view and influence in others´ point of view. 4,08 0,621 90,29% 2,91% The use of the SNS helps to learn from and consider other students´ points of view on problems and cases. 3,99 0,649 84,47% 2,91% SNS provides helpful tools to facilitate team working. 3,95 0,705 76,84% 2,11% The SNS allows the coordination of joint actions with peer students for other activities out of the subject (e.g. to prepare assignments of other subjects). 3,93 0,849 75,00% 7,29%
  24. 24. Table 6. Promoting critical view Mea n Std. Dev. % agreem. % disagree m. The use of the SNS allows me to better develop a critical and reflective attitude towards the contents and materials of the subject. 3,89 0,615 81,19% 2,97% The use of the SNS allows me to better develop a critical and reflective attitude towards the contents accessible via Internet. 3,79 0,635 71,57% 1,96% The use of the SNS allows me to better develop a critical and reflective attitude towards the opinions of other students. 3,78 0,607 74,51% 2,94% The use of the SNS allows me to express my opinions and views more freely than in a classroom. 3,88 1,003 67,33% 8,91%
  25. 25. Table 7. Content learning Mean Std. Dev. % agreem. % disagreem. The use of the SNS has been useful for the learning of the contents of the subject. 4,25 0,537 95,15% 0,00% The use of the SNS motivated me to work harder in the subject. 3,74 0,816 58,25% 3,88% The use of the SNS increased my interest in accounting. 3,53 0,750 52,88% 7,69%
  26. 26. Table 8. General assessment of the activity Mean Std. Dev. % agreem. % disagreem . I’d recommend to other students to enrol in the subject 4,39 0,603 95,92% 1,02% I think that the generalisation of these initiatives could improve significantly the quality of learning at university level. 4,28 0,709 91,09% 2,97% An integrated SNS for all the subjects, or similar subjects, could be a good learning tool. 4,26 0,722 93,88% 5,10% The difficulties to use the SNS de-motivate me to use it. 1,71 0,903 6,80% 86,41%
  27. 27. Table 9. General assessment by previous experience with SNSs N Mean Std. Dev. t-test sig. I think that the generalisation of these initiatives could improve significantly the quality of learning at university level. No 13 3,54 ,967 .000 Yes 86 4,38 ,597 An integrated SNS for all the subjects, or similar subjects, could be a good learning tool. No 12 3,75 ,866 .000 Yes 84 4,36 ,633
  28. 28. Relationship participation – gradeRelationship participation – grade the vast majority of students did enrol in the experience.... the comparison of the academic performance between students enrolled – not enrolled in the innovation is not feasible Two clusters were defined: Cluster 1: low participation (n: 75) Cluster 2: high participation (n: 27) Comparison group 1 vs group 2 No differences were found in grades obtained in previous courses on Accounting (proxy for a priori performance)
  29. 29. Cluster N Mean Std. Deviation t-test si Exam 1 low 70 5,7129 1,49953 n 2 high 27 6,0519 1,74810 Task (essay) 1 low 69 ,7504 ,68079 .0 2 high 27 1,2428 ,52301 Class 1 low 75 ,2500 ,11442 .0 2 high 27 ,3241 ,13091 Final grade 1 low 75 6,2724 2,22778 .0 Table 8: Grades by level of participation Positive impact on ongoing evaluation measures, which, combined had a relevant impact on final grade
  30. 30. 30 Final conclusions • Good results in terms of: • General assessment • Collaborative learning • Critical view • Content learning • Improving Digital Literacy. • Better communication • student-teacher • Among colleagues
  31. 31. 31 Final conclusions • Digital literacy (digital divide issue) • Influence on participation • Opinion on the usefulness of the new technologies. • Educational purposes over social interaction (for fun → Facebook). • Using the SNS for other courses

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