# Student centred teaching of accounting to engineering students: Comparing blended learning with traditional approaches

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5 Hypothesis 3 (null) There is no difference between the average final examination result for the traditional cohort and the average final examination result for the blended cohort. Hypothesis 3 (alternative) There is a significant difference between in the average final examination result for the traditional cohort and the average final examination result for the blended cohort. Data analysis To test these hypotheses, data was collected in relation to students performance in the two cohorts, one of which was exposed to a traditional approach and the other to a blended approach. The descriptive statistics for the two cohorts are shown in Table 2. Table 2: Descriptive statistics for the two cohorts by approach to which they were exposed n Mean Std Dev Min Max Traditional cohort 40 Attempts at weekly questions In-session test Examination Final mark Blendedcohort 46 Attempts at weekly questions In-session test Examination Final mark The purpose of the study was to identify if there were significant differences between the behaviour and results of students undertaking the subject by the traditional approach and those who undertook it by the blended approach. For each hypothesis, an independent samples t-test comparing the respective variable of the two cohorts was used to test the hypothesis. This test is appropriate because the independent or grouping variable is nominal (approach = traditional vs. blended) and the dependent variable in each case is scale. H1: Comparing attempts at weekly questions Students could make up to twelve attempts at weekly questions. Under the traditional approach, the attempts were physically checked in the allocated tutorial each week. Under the blended approach the students had from 9 am Saturday until 9 am Friday to submit there attempts online. Results of the t-test are shown in Table 3. The Levene s test for equality of variances, the significance value, (p = 0.001), is less than the threshold of 0.05, thus equal variances cannot be assumed. The blended cohort made a larger number of attempts at weekly questions by an average of 2.04 (9.05 vs ) which is significant (p = 0.000). Therefore, the null hypothesis is rejected and the alternative hypothesis accepted, concluding that there is a significant difference in the number of attempts between the two cohorts. H2: Comparing the results for in-session tests Students could achieve a mark of up to 100 in the in-session test element of the assessment. Under the traditional approach, this mark was achieved in one test held in a particular week. Under the blended approach, the mark was the aggregate of the scores for online tests held at three different times during the semester. Results of the t-test are shown in Table 4. The Levene s test for equality of variances, the significance value, (p = 0.017), is less than the threshold of 0.05, thus equal variances cannot be assumed. Group Statistics Table 3: Results of t-test for H1: Comparing attempts at weekly questions by cohort Proceedings ascilite Singapore 2007: Full paper: Abraham 5

6 Cohort N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean No. of Traditional attempts Blended Independent Samples Test No. of attempts t-test for Equality of Means t df Sig. (2- tailed) Mean Difference 95% Confidence Interval Std. Error of the Difference Difference Upper Lower Group Statistics Table 4: Results of t-test for H2: Comparing results for in-session test by cohort Cohort N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean In-session Traditional test result Blended Independent Samples Test In-session test result t-test for Equality of Means t df Sig. (2- tailed) Mean Difference 95% Confidence Interval Std. Error of the Difference Difference Upper Lower The blended cohort scored a higher mark in the in-session test by an average of 19.26% (56.23 vs ) which is significant (p = 0.000). Therefore, the null hypothesis is rejected and the alternative hypothesis accepted, concluding that there is a significant difference in the average score achieved by each of the two cohorts. H3: Comparing the results for final examinations Students could achieve a mark of up to 100 in the final examination. Results of the t-test are shown in Table 5. The Levene s test for equality of variances, the significance value, (p = 0.721), is greater than the threshold of 0.05, thus, in this case, equal variances can be assumed. The blended cohort scored a higher mark in the final examination by an average of 11.32% (44.24 vs ) which is significant (p = 0.000). Therefore, the null hypothesis is rejected and the alternative hypothesis accepted, concluding that there is a significant difference average score achieved by each of the two cohorts. Gender, mode of study, choice of subject Independent samples t-tests were also carried out to determine whether any of the results (weekly questions, tests, final exam) were significant in relation to the dichotomous variables, gender (male vs. female), mode of study (full time vs. part time) and choice of subject (compulsory vs. elective). In each case the significance level was consistent with the null hypothesis, which meant it could not be rejected. This indicated that there are no significant differences based on these variables. Proceedings ascilite Singapore 2007: Full paper: Abraham 6

8 Overall, the findings reinforce the view that a blended learning environment promotes student-centred learning by empowering students to take more responsibility for their learning and to increase the involvement and participation necessary for that learning. While not specifically tested, the findings also suggest that such a blended learning pedagogy supports the development of life-long learning by providing a model where the learners are the focus. By being flexible, both in terms of place and time, a blended environment provides a rich educational experience with an emphasis on active learning. References Bourne, J., Harris, D. & Mayadas, F. (2005). Online engineering education: Learning anywhere, anytime. Journal of Engineering Education, 94(1), Brandes, D. & Ginnis, P. (1986). A guide to student-centred learning. Hemel Hempstead: Simon & Schuster Education. Carmody. K. & Berge, Z. (2005). Elemental analysis of the online learning experience. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, 1(3), Clark, I. & James, P. (2005). Blended learning: An approach to delivering science courses on-line. Proceedings of the Blended Learning in Science Teaching and Learning Symposium, 30 September 2005, The University of Sydney: UniServe Science, Cottrell, D. & Robison, R. (2003). Blended learning in an accounting course. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 4(3), Davies, J. & Graff, M. (2005). Performance in e-learning: online participation and student grades. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(4), Di Napoli, R. (2004). What is student-centred learning? University of Westminster: Educational Initiative Centre. Dopper, S.M. & Sjoer, E. (2004). Implementing formative assessment in engineering education: The use of the online assessment system Etude. European Journal of Engineering Education, 29(2), Dzuiban, C.D., Hartman, J.L. & Moskal, P.D. Blended learning. EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research Bulletin, 7, Entwhistle, N. (1988) Motivational factors in students approaches to learning. Chapter 2 in R.R. Schmech (Ed.) Learning strategies and learning styles. New York: Plenum Press. Gallini, J.K & Barron (2002) Participants perceptions of web-infused environments: A survey of teaching beliefs, learning approaches, and communication. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 34(2), Garrison, D.R. & Kanuka, H. (2004) Blended learning: Uncovering transformative potential in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 7, Gibbs, G. & Habeshaw (1989). Preparing to teach: An introduction to effective teaching in higher education, Bristol: Technical and Educational Services Ltd. Graham, C.R. (2005). Blended learning systems: Definition, current trends, and future directions. In C.J. Bonk & C.R. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing. Graham, C.R., Allen, S. & Ure, D. (2005). Benefits and challenges of blended learning environments. In M. Khosrow-Pour (Ed.) Encyclopedia of information science and technology. Hershey: PA: Idea Group, Holman, L. (2000). A comparison of computer-assisted instruction and classroom bibliographic instruction. American Library Association, 40(1), Johnson, M. (2002). Introductory Biology Online: Assessing Outcomes of Two Student Populations. Journal of College Science Teaching, 31(5), Knowles, M. S. (1975). Self-directed learning. A guide for learners and teachers. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall/Cambridge. Martin, K. (2000).. Alternative modes of teaching and learning, University of Western Australia Centre for Staff Development. [Online]. Available: student -centred_learning.html. Accessed 15 August McAlpine, I., Reidsema, C. & Allen, B. (2006). Educational design and online support for an innovative project-based course in engineering design. In L. Markauskaite, P. Goodyear & P. Reimann (Eds.), Proceedings of the 23 rd Annual ASCILITE Conference: Who's learning? Whose technology?, University of Sydney, Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition: Sydney University Press, McCray, G.E. (2000) The hybrid course: Merging on-line instruction and the traditional classroom. Information Technology and Management, 1(4), Proceedings ascilite Singapore 2007: Full paper: Abraham 8

9 McGouty, J. (2000). Using multisource feedback in the classroom: A computer-based approach. IEEE Transactions in Higher Education, 28(4), Merino, D.N. & Abel, K.D. (2003). Evaluating the effectiveness of computer tutorials versus traditional lecturing in accounting topics. Journal of Engineering Education, 92(2), Ramsden, P. Learning to teach in higher education. London: Routledge. Russell, T.L. (2001). The no significant difference phenomenon, 5 th edition. IDECC. Sparrow, L., Sparrow, H., & Swan, P. (2000). Student centred learning: Is it possible? In A. Herrmann & M.M. Kulski (Eds.), Flexible Futures in Tertiary Teaching. Proceedings of the 9 th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 2-4 February Perth: Curtin University of Technology. [Online]. Available: Accessed 15 August Subic, A. & Maconachie, D. (2004). Flexible learning technologies and distance education: A teaching and learning perspective. European Journal of Engineering Education, 29(1), Twigg, C.A. (2003). Improving learning and reducing costs: New models for online learning. EDUCAUSE Review, September/October: Utts, J., Sommer, B., Acredolo, C. Maher, M. & Matthews, R. (2003). A study comparing traditional and hybrid internet-based instruction in introductory statistics classes. Journal of Statistics Education, 11(3), [Online] Available: Accessed: 15 August Waddoups, G.L. & Howell, S.L. (2002) Bringing online learning to campus: The hybridization of teaching and learning at Brigham Young University. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 2(2). Available: Weston, C., McAlpine, L., & Bordonaro, T. (1995). A model for understanding formative evaluation in instructional design. Educational Technology Research and Development, 43(3), Williams, C. (2002). Learning on-line: A review of recent literature in a rapidly expanding field. Journal of Higher and Further Education, 26(3), Yoon, S. & Lim, D.H. (2007). Strategic blending: A conceptual framework to improve learning and performance, International Journal on Elearning 6(3), Dr Anne Abraham School of Accounting and Finance, University of Wollongong, NSW Please cite as: Abraham, A. (2007). Adopting a student-centred pedagogy in the teaching of accounting to engineering students: Comparing a blended learning approach with a traditional approach. In ICT: Providing choices for learners and learning. Proceedings ascilite Singapore Copyright 2007 Anne Abraham. The author assigns to ascilite and educational non-profit institutions a non-exclusive licence to use this document for personal use and in courses of instruction provided that the article is used in full and this copyright statement is reproduced. The author also grants a non-exclusive licence to ascilite to publish this document on the ascilite web site and in other formats for Proceedings ascilite Singapore Any other use is prohibited without the express permission of the author. Proceedings ascilite Singapore 2007: Full paper: Abraham 9

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