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Just Do It− Active Learning! Cynthia W. Turner

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1 Just Do It− Active Learning! Cynthia W. Turner

2 Our teaching approach: Each semester, after teaching accounting fundamentals, we assign a comprehensive case that is prepared by our students outside of class (in groups). These cases are carefully crafted for the introductory student and involve realistic, small business settings that are familiar to students. The ultimate objective is to have students navigate through the entire accounting processing cycle. The case setting is familiar, but the fact pattern is new and has never been seen before by the students…this is key!

3 Avoids compartmentalized learning Develops stronger analytical skills Develops higher order thinking skills Strengthens understanding of materials 4 3 2 1 Advantages of the case approach:

4 And while active learning is a valuable teaching tool, particular care must be taken when implementing the active (team-based) learning approach in the classroom...

5 Require individual accountability. Accountability Group Work Teamwork Provide well-structured activities. Foster healthy team environment. To create effective learning teams, the instructor should focus on the following elements:

6 Fostering a healthy teamwork environment Be clear and up front with studentsabout why they are being asked towork in a group setting- It is NOT to reduce the amount of grading. In industry, they WILL be working on a team.

7 Fostering a healthy teamwork environment Ways to minimize adversity - Team member introductions.Create a team contract (e.g., Illinois ExecutiveMBA Program contract guidelines). Benefits: – Expressly articulates the expectations ofeach individual team member. – Establishes an agreed-upon process inwhich team members will follow in fulfillingtheir individual responsibilities in theoverall team performance. – Minimizes subsequent team conflicts.

8 Fostering a healthy teamwork environment Provide strategies for finding time to meet. Encourage students to avoid the “ divide and conquer ” approach. In advance, discuss group dynamics through an in-class exercise. Benefits: – Alerts students to the types of problems that could occur. – Allows team members to engage in discussion regardinghow to handle potential issues that may arise within agroup setting. – Assists team members in developing a common set ofexpectations for subsequent individual performancewithin a team.

9 Fostering a healthy teamwork environment Team member selection – Instructor-determined Randomly OR instructor identifiescomplementary strengths of each teammember. – Student-determined Students choose their own groups ORteam leader selected by professor andteam leader conducts interviews formembership selection.

10 Provide well-structured group activities with clear goals Give significant course credit. Utilize peer evaluations. Tie to homework, lectures, and exams. Students will be more invested if they see a connection between group assignments and other class activities.

11 Require a level of individual accountability Include self and peer evaluations inassessing team performance. – Students are less likely to act as a ‘free rider’in team activities if there are consequences. – Be clear that they are expected to behave asa professional. Confidential. Determine amount of course credit to beassigned to evaluations – The weighting of the evaluations should besignificant enough to cost students if theywere to choose to not put in their fair share ofthe work.


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