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July 29, 2010 / fliteam

FLI Focus: Choice, Challenge &, Clarity

As part of our ongoing mission to help the Faculty of Commerce move to flexible/blended/ student-centred teaching practices we’re happy to announce a new feature, FLI Focus. Periodically we’re going to highlight one teacher, course or even a new feature within a course. The idea of FLI Focus is to show how engaging with FLI, and the philosophy behind the whole project, can reap rewards for both students and teachers.

Tracy-Anne  De Silva and Accounting 202 are our first FLI Focus.

The range of choices learners have in how they  get to grips with the skills of management accounting kicks off the FLI Focus challenge in great style. Soon-to-be-mum-again Tracy-Anne has worked hard with the FLI team to explore ways to make her course a better place to learn, a more fun course to be part of, a more flexible way to interact with learning materials. With declining participation in tutorials and a falling student roll last year Tracy-Anne wanted to offer other ways of getting students to master the skills of  this 200 level course.

“They just don’t come to tutorials.” says Tracy-Anne.  She wanted to leverage the times students do come on campus by offering online activities that would enable them to learn by themselves with support. Quizzes, for example, test skill acquisition over a range of input – say a chapter from the textbook – and identify exactly what areas learners need to focus on for competence. So they go from “I didn’t understand last week’s lecture,” to “I couldn’t solve the problems about ‘X’ in last week’s lecture.” It’s only week two in the semester but students do seem to be enjoying the course.

Modular Structure

The clear layout of the Acct 202 Learn site makes it easy to understand what the course objectives are,  where to access activities and what the assessment tasks are. The modular course structure is a break with the weekly format Tracy-Anne had last year and the change has made the route to improved grades for learners simpler. Each module has resources such as lecture notes and readings, as well as links to online activities in the textbook and online lessons with built in feedback on what students need to do to resolve tasks. e-Learning Facilitator Navdeep Kaur has helped Tracy-Anne put these together.

Student Built Glossary

Check out the glossary activity Tracy-Anne has developed with FLI. Clickable links across the course page take students to a gloss of focus terms they need to know to have a good command of ‘management accounting speak.’ Importantly, this is a glossary they are in the process of building themselves. Each learner chooses a term from the list Tracy-Anne provides and after a bit of research on their own, they add a gloss for the term. Then a classmate gives them feedback on the quality of their contribution – are sources well cited? is the gloss an academic one or not? have they just copied and pasted from another source or have they digested the concept and produced an ‘original’ gloss?  To reward everyone’s effort there is a grade for both contributing your own term and critiquing a classmate’s.  All small steps towards achieving the graduate profile of becoming a ‘critical thinker,’ says Tracy-Anne. Here’s a glossary extract from Acct 202, the student critiques gave it 1/2 marks – how would you rate it and why?

FLI Rubric

“Acct 202 Learn page  is close the minimum standards we’re trying to achieve for Learn sites,’ says FLI’s Maurice Ward. “Tracy-Anne has made us really think about how our goals for websites need to be practical,” he noted. We liked  Valerire Manna’s graphic course map a lot and wanted to include it in our basic rubric for Learn sites but as Tracy-Anne points out, as yet we haven’t got it to the point where it can fairly show the link between activities and assessment. So it’s back to the drawing board for course maps.

Accounting Question: How Many Chocky Fish for $10?

Take a look at the Learn site for Management Accounting 202 and let us know what you think. You can enrol there and have a look around the site until August 30. Look out for the course calendar, menu block, two ways to use ‘lesson acitvities, chat rooms and more.  Whether you are student or a teacher we’d love to hear your comments. We’ve a $10 voucher for Mrs O’s for the best comment here on the Management Accounting 202 course.

And hey Tracy-Anne, best of luck with the new babe – we’ll miss you for the next few months but we’re delighted you’re adding to the FoC family in the nicest of ways :-)

If you would like to nominate a course, teacher or feature within a course for the next  FLI Focus contact us here at this blog site.


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