Case Study: Connect Accounting - University of Alabama

Digital Product in Use:

Connect® Accounting

Course Name:

Introduction to Accounting

Course Type:


Credit Hours:


Textbook in Use:

Fundamentals of Financial Accounting by Phillips, Libby and Libby, 3e

Instructor Name:

Lisa McKinney



Case Study Term:

Fall 2010

Class attendance has gone up since we began using Connect Accounting, because students are responsible for a challenging homework assignment each week. Prior to using Connect, attendance for my sections was 75%. Since using Connect, attendance has increased to 90% or more. Connect Accounting keeps students in class each week because they want to know how to successfully complete the assignments.

-Professor Lisa McKinney

Digital Course Solution Improves Student Success

Professor Lisa McKinney wanted to maximize her lecture time without spending time on repetitive problems demonstrating lower level concepts and reviewing homework. She and her colleagues decided to implement Connect Accounting to ensure that students learned this crucial material outside of class. They soon found that students liked Connect Accounting, and knowing that the homework assignments were required, spent more time working the problems, leading to an increase in quiz averages, exam averages and pass rates

Institution Profile

The University of Alabama, located in Tuscaloosa, has an annual enrollment of approximately 29,000 students. The University offers eight baccalaureate degrees, seven master’s degrees, and seven doctorate degrees. In addition, the campus includes the University of Alabama School of Law.


Course Description:

Introduction to Accounting introduces the concepts and terminology of accounting and financial reporting for modern business enterprises. The course is designed to help students to learn to analyze and interpret accounting information for use in making decisions about organizations.

Course Grade:

  • 75% of the final grade based on three exams
  • 15% of the final grade based on quizzes and labs
  • 10% of the final grade based on homework assignments within Connect Accounting

Implementation of McGraw-Hill Connect

Professor McKinney and her colleagues gave their students weekly assignments within Connect Accounting, accounting for 10% of the final grade. These assignments covered one chapter each and generally comprised 8-10 questions, including algorithmic exercises and problems that were randomly selected from a pool. Students were allowed unlimited attempts at each homework assignment during the week it was assigned, with the best score being recorded. More than 75% of the students attempted assignments more than once to increase their grade. Students were required to complete each assignment, yet were allowed to either skip one or drop the lowest assignment grade at the end of the semester. At students’ requests, copies of homework assignments were made available for additional practice before exams..

During implementation, Professor Kinney was impressed by how easy it was to set up Connect Accounting and to select and assign homework problems to students.

Results Achieved

Professor McKinney found that quiz and test grades both increased with the use of Connect Accounting. “I feel that learning is higher because of the additional practice,” she says. “Students in the lower and middle percentiles of the class are doing better because of the repetition and drilling provided through Connect.”.

Rand’s students say they appreciate the online access. “The link to the e-book is helpful,” he said. “Students seem to appreciate that they can spend less money using Connect Plus instead of a hard-copy textbook.”

Connect Accounting has had an extraordinary impact across all 7 sections and 650+ students. Student retention rates increased by 5%, course passing rates increased by 5%, and class attendance increased by 15%. Not only that, but student quiz averages increased from 75% to 81%, and exam averages increased from 72% to 75%.

Professor McKinney also found the Assignment Results, Student Performance, and Item Analysis reports in Connect Accounting extremely useful. This functionality enabled her to see which problems students were struggling with across the course sections and to also pinpoint individual problem areas to guide specific student instruction.

“I think that Connect Plus was actually very useful. It helped me to learn the material better and it was very, very easy to use. I believe that it would have been more difficult for me to do well in the course without it. Overall, I think Connect is a success.”

“My experience with Connect Plus has been great throughout the semester. The program was very useful and helped reinforce concepts addressed in class. I found it fairly easy to use. Connect Plus has been a great help!

-Students at University of Alabama


Professor McKinney “absolutely” plans to continue using Connect Accounting, and to recommend it to other faculty members. The time savings that Connect provides by autograding assignments and reinforcing key course concepts has enabled her to cover a wider variety of content and problems, making the course now more comprehensive for students. She and her colleagues were also pleased with the tangible results in a number of course success metrics across multiple sections