Case Study: Accounting - Jefferson Community and Technical College
Digital Product in Use:
Financial Accounting I
Blended Lecture and Online
Textbook in Use:
Financial and Managerial Accounting: Information for Decisions by John J. Wild, Ken W. Shaw, and Barbara Chiappetta
300 students/year (university total)
Case Study Term:
Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015
“Connect allows me to be the most effective and efficient instructor that I can be while at the same time, allowing the student to be the most effective and efficient student who is actually learning the material and not just memorizing ‘facts’ for the exams.”
SmartBook Improves Already High Student Performance for Experienced Connect Instructor
Instructor April Mohr has been using Connect in her course for eight years and has observed significantly positive outcomes for her students over that time. Mohr attributes her improved efficacy as an instructor to Connect because it drastically reduces the amount of time she spends grading, which allows her to focus on making adjustments to lectures and addressing students’ needs. With her integration of SmartBook, Mohr has seen her students’ high grades and retention rates improve even further. Mohr says, “Students come to class actually knowing at least a minimum amount about the material covered in the chapter. I used to assign SmartBook as extra credit and most students did not complete it. Now that it is required, students complete SmartBook and this benefits them immensely.”
Course grade is determined by the following:
- 40% Connect Exams
- 38.5% Connect Homework
- 16.5% SmartBook
- 5% First Assignment
- 3.3% Extra Credit Interactive Presentations
Mohr requires both Connect and SmartBook assignments for the course along with her recorded lectures. Students are required to complete the SmartBook assignment before class. This allows Mohr to evaluate the SmartBook reports to customize her lecture based on which learning objectives are particularly challenging to the students. She then presents a focused ‘mini lecture’ at the beginning of class. “Since I am using a flipped model, and because I require SmartBook prior to coming to class, we are spending the majority of our class time on the actual hands-on homework assignments,” she says.
Because most of class time is spent reviewing the Connect homework, Mohr reports, “This is an incentive for students to come to class. Then, they have two additional days to complete and submit their work.” She adds, “My success metrics included freeing up time for me so that I could actually help my students learn the material before they submitted their homework and whereby they received immediate feedback on assignments as opposed to students having to wait several days for me to hand grade their assignments.”
Mohr feels that she’s able to engage interactively with her students on an individual basis in class due to time she gains as a result of using the SmartBook reports. These reports link directly to reduced time in preparing for class as Mohr can run and review a report quickly. She then only needs a few minutes prepping her mini lecture.
Being able to use Connect in conjunction with Blackboard has made time management much more efficient. Mohr uses the Connect building block for Blackboard so that students only need to sign on to Blackboard and then, they simply access a link for Connect and Smartbook. Grades then flow directly into the Blackboard grade book. This integration has been extremely helpful for Mohr. She says, “I remember the time before the building block existed, and I was uploading and imputing the grades for each student by hand. I love the integration.”
Although Mohr’s students were already performing at a high level, their performance in the course has nonetheless improved with the introduction of SmartBook. Prior to adopting SmartBook, the pass rate of students in her class was 82.14%, whereas afterward, they climbed to 84.38% (Figure 1).
Immediately after requiring SmartBook, Mohr saw an increase in students earning top grades. In the first semester after introducing SmartBook, the number of students earning A’s and B’s jumped 10% from 56% to 66% (Figure 2a).
She also saw a general improvement in the grade distribution in her course. In that same initial period after requiring SmartBook, Mohr’s students earned higher grades overall (Figure 2b).
This course presents generally accepted accounting principles used for the measurement and reporting of financial information in the financial statements.
Jefferson Community and Technical College is a public post-secondary within the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The school has six campuses that service approximately 13,000 students. Students can choose from associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates that collectively represent 300 academic program options.
“The data shows that Connect improves student’s understanding of the material, their exam scores, final grades, and retention rates all of which are demonstrated by my consistent use of Connect over the past 8+ years.”
- April Mohr
And although she does not require or track attendance, another positive result of Connect and SmartBook is that more students are coming to class as a result of the way that she uses reports to address problem areas in the classroom. Mohr says, “I do note that as soon as students realize that we are going over specific homework questions in class, they do continue coming to class.”
Finally, a significant outcome of using Connect is that Mohr’s time has been freed up from grading to focusing on teaching her students. She reports, “I do not really spend any time grading now. Prior to using Connect, I used to spend hours each week hand grading assignments (and I feel that I am very efficient at grading). So, I went from approximately 10 hours per week in grading to essentially 0.”
“Being able to interact with SmartBook is the greatest benefit I have received from taking an online course thus far.“
“I found SmartBook very helpful. Honestly you cannot complete the class without it!!”
“I liked the practice and that you could open the book and it would show you where the problem was related in the book. Also if you got the problem incorrect it would at times tell you how to solve it.”
“SmartBook is a great resource to gauge your comprehension of the material.”
“Very interactive and helpful in retaining the knowledge. It focuses the reader to the information that is most important and challenges the reader as they go.“
“I like studying through Connect and SmartBook, both are incredibly useful. I’d like more classes to use them in the future.”
“I believe that the reason my students’ grades and exam scores are so impressive is because I have been using Connect since its inception.”
Mohr has a very unique vantage point on the value of Connect as she has been using the product from its beginnings. Says Mohr, “I am an original user of Connect and have seen it through several iterations and the addition of many wonderful tools.” Over the time that she has continued to use Connect, she has come to firmly believe it has been instrumental in her students’ comprehension of the material—and their above-average performance in the course. She concludes, “Connect is an extremely valuable resource. I incorporate pretty much everything that Connect has to offer and have seen the benefits not only for me, but more importantly, for my students in terms of them actually learning the material.”