Case Study: Connect Accounting - Franklin University
Digital Product in Use:
Hybrid (4 credit hours of in-class lecture and online learning tools)
Textbook in Use:
Financial Accounting: Information for Decisions by Wild, 5e
75/year (instructor total)
1,050/year (university total)
Case Study Term:
Connect Accounting has been the best learning tool we could offer our students. Their success rates and improved impression of the course have made their lives and mine much easier
-Professor Dave Welch
Digital Course Solution Improves Student Success and Increases Instructor Efficiency
Professor Dave Welch and his colleagues were spending so much class time giving tests and going over homework that they struggled to get through the required course content. In addition, students wanted the ability to work through assignments multiple times for practice. In 2008, as the course developer, Professor Welch implemented McGraw-Hill’s Homework Manager across all sections of Financial Accounting, and then transitioned to Connect Accounting as soon as it became available in 2010. Through algorithmically generated homework assignments that are automatically graded, students can have access to unlimited practice with immediate feedback. By giving tests through Connect Accounting, Professor Welch has also freed up the equivalent of two weeks’ lecture time.
Franklin University serves 11,000 students annually at its main campus in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and at four other campuses located throughout the state. The University offers 28 associate’s and baccalaureate degree programs and five master’s degree programs.
Financial Accounting is an introduction to the subject and how it plays an integral role in today’s information age. Students learn about the art and science of accounting by analyzing, classifying, recording and interpreting business transactions and financial statements. Balance sheet, income statement, statement of retained earnings, and statement of cash flow components are thoroughly covered as to their compilation and ultimate significance for financial statement users.
- 30% of the final grade based on four exams within Connect Accounting
- 28.5% of the final grade based on post-lecture problems within Connect Accounting
- 18.5% of the final grade based on pre-lecture exercise sets within Connect Accounting
- 13% of the final grade based on two written assignments
- 10% of the final grade based on pre-lecture quizzes within Connect Accounting
Implementation of McGraw-Hill Connect
Professor Welch uses Connect Accounting to assign, on average, 3-4 assignments each week, using the filter feature to select exercises and problems that specifically match the departmental learning outcomes. Prior to each lecture, he assigns practice exercises which count towards a significant portion of the grade – almost 20% – and gives students the ability to work the exercises multiple times. This requires them to read the material first in order to successfully complete the exercises, and puts them in a better position to ask relevant questions in class, enhancing the learning process. Professor Welch then assigns a timed 20 minute quiz which is due before each lecture.
After the lectures, he continues the learning process by assigning problems which are due on the Sunday following each week’s class session. He first teaches the concept during his lectures and prepares students by demonstrating the weekly problem assignment using a static version of the algorithmic version assigned in Connect Accounting. Lastly, he posts his exams online with a 75-minute time limit. To allow students time to become familiar using Connect at the beginning of the term, he also assigns 0 points to the Week 1 exercise set and quiz.
Professor Welch has recovered the equivalent of two weeks of lecture time by having his students complete tests outside of class in Connect Accounting (see Figure 1). As he teaches in twelve week sections, this extra class time allows him to get through all of the required course material without having to rush through it. He is now able to spend significantly more time on teaching concepts versus reviewing homework as well.
Professor Welch used to spend 12 hours per week grading, but he reports, “With nearly 90% of the points coming from Connect assignments, grading time went to practically zero.” He now uses this time to prepare his lectures. He uses the category analysis report in Connect Accounting to help focus his lecture on the topics that his students have trouble with during the prelecture assignments.
Professor Welch’s students are also pleased with Connect Accounting. They now spend more time engaging with the course content, both prior to class, enabling them to apply their knowledge in discussions, as well as after class. This approach has led to consistent improved performance and an overall enhanced impression of the course.
Both student grades and satisfaction with the course have increased across all sections with the use of Connect Accounting. The number of students receiving As and Bs increased, while the number of students receiving Cs, Ds and Fs has gone down (see Figure 2). In addition, Professor Welch has seen the average pass rate for exams increase by 8% (see Figure 3). He says, “Connect has been the best learning tool we could offer our students. Their success rates and improved impression of the course have made their lives and mine much easier.”
“Our focus has been on reducing the number of students who have to repeat the course,” Professor Welch reports. “In 2007, more than 25% of those enrolled had to repeat the course at least one time. That percentage has dropped to approximately 5%” (see Figure 4).
Professor Welch has also found that since implementing Connect Accounting, student attendance in class has increased by 21%. “Students seem to find accounting more tolerable, and they come to class more fully prepared,” he says.
Professor Welch recommends Connect Accounting to his colleagues, and due to the positive results that he has seen in his course, a number of faculty members in the College of Business Administration are considering implementing Connect in their courses. He also reports that his administration has shown interest in exploring departmental use of Connect to improve student outcomes.