Skip to content
Aug 20 07

First Day

by admin

Class begins today, well at 6:00 PM tonight and a journey that started almost a year ago when I first went into Second Life to “look around” is coming full circle as I introduce 300+ students to the platform. I am very nervous!

Teaching 4

The build by Davina Glitter (aka Davina Hovanec in RL)
Davina Glitter
is incredible (IMO) and has 3 separate areas for viewing my lectures. Why lectures in Second Life (they will also be made available on the web and as an iPod video download)? Simply because I believe that there will be myriad benefits for watching my lectures in small groups as opposed to alone in a dorm room or office cubicle or campus lab. Back channel chat and IM can happen, something that doesn’t happen in a classroom or certainly if you are alone. How many will choose to watch in Second Life remains an open question, compared to one-click on a web site, Second Life poses hurdles the students will have to jump over:

  1. Have the proper computer
  2. Navigate to the class parcel
  3. Turn on media controls
  4. Sit (well OK you don’t have to sit, but all AVs do)
  5. Manipulate camera controls to view the video best

So that’s a whole lot more then just one-click, but should be worth it in the end.

The 3-D interactive accounting content is ready to go (though I’m quite sure I’ll be tweaking scripts for the next few weeks).

I’ve enjoyed my journey and have been blown away time and time again by amazing people, amazing builds and the amazing possibilities – it is time now to see what the students think. Update: Class is over and students seemed overwhelmed a bit about Second Life but also the other technology I’m using: Twitter, Meebo, Cmap Tools. I think once they get over the shock it will be alright.

So far the tool being used amazingly well is Meebo, an IM tool. I’ve embeded a Meebo widget into the class wikispace and students have been IM’ing me all day with questions, some before class even started! – what an easy tool to use. I’ve had more IM’s the first day then I received over the last several semesters.

Aug 15 07

Interactive 3-D Accounting

by admin

Wow, it’s been a month since I last posted anything here. It’s not like I haven’t been busy. I’ve been recording lectures, Second Life demos, Second Life How-To’s all with Camtasia Studios. Oh an I’ve been working on the Second Life part of the Financial Accounting course. The Kenneth Dixon Accounting Department at University of Central Florida is now a proud lessee of a 4048m parcel on Teaching 4. I have met the very talented Davina hovance (SL:Davina Glitter) who is graciously (and creatively) helping me to create the builds for the space.

I have built the single-player 3-D interactive T-Account, in which students are presented with an account name and whether or not the account is being increased or decreased. Armed with this information, the students have to step onto either the debit or credit side of the T-account, and are presented with feedback as to whether or not they are correctly placed. This is a game after all!

As the students are engaged with the interactive T-account, I’m collecting data about this activity: how long they are playing and how many correct debits/credits they’ve received. Using this data, I intend to compute a ratio of (time on task:number correct) among other things.

Well enough words, click on the video in my Sidebar to view a demonstration or click here for a larger view for those so inclined, and please leave comments if your so inclined.

Jul 12 07

Beginning Journey

by admin

One of the greatest hurdles I have when teaching Financial Accounting is conveying to students that accounting can be engaging, really! This hurdle arises for several reasons, and I will be documenting attempts to engage my students through the use of various Web 2.0 and Web 3-D technologies here. Let’s first list the hurdles that typically need to be surpassed.

  • This is a required course, thus most students are taking it because they have to (not really motivating).
  • This is the 1st course (Financial accounting), thus requiring students to learn:
    1. A new language
    2. A new logic (Assets = Liabilities + Equity), which seems mathematical but isn’t – there aren’t positives and negatives
    3. A need to understand the inputs to a system
    4. A need to understand what to do with these inputs (processing)
    5. A need to understand what the outputs of the system mean

Let’s start with the language aspect, when learning a language say Spanish, you take a context that you already know and learn how to apply things from one context into another. So if you know what the abstraction ‘house’ is you can create a link in your mind between ‘house’ and ‘casa’. But most of my students don’t know what an ‘Accounts Receivable’ is, or for heavens sake what a ‘debit’ or ‘credit’ is. Those obstacles are not going to change anytime soon, its the nature of the course, even if one moves towards a more user oriented approach, students still require an immersion in a new language and a system they’ve never been exposed to.

One last hurdle which can be the most important and difficult to overcome is the engagement of the students. Lets face it, learning Debits and Credits and how to capture important data related to, for example, Bonds that a company issued at a discount to raise capital may not be sexy enough to motivate students to practice. There are two fundamental reasons why: First, students are not immersed enough in the context of accounting in the first course – its enough material to cover without also having them open up a business in a really meaningful way to see what all this accounting stuff is all about, and without a proper context practicing accounting is not very relevant. Taken as a whole it’s surprising to me that students are engaged at all (the non-accounting majors that is).

Enter Second Life. To keep this long post from getting any longer, Second Life is a 3-D online digital world. And because they say a picture is worth a 1000 words, I have created a short video demonstration of one possible implementation of Second Life for teaching accounting. Introducing the 3-D interactive accounting model. This model allows students to visualize the equality of Assets, Liabilities and Equity. They can interact with the model directly via chat or by writing a transaction on a notecard which is read by the accounting model. As each part of a transaction is entered the model provides feedback by saying whether the debit/credit is increasing/decreasing a particular account category. When chatting with the model only one part of the transaction can be entered at a time, thus reinforcing the notion of dual-entry accounting. As transactions are entered into the 3-D model, floating text of the accounting equation is updated so students can see if how the debits/credits are effecting the model both numerically and visually. So without further ado, the model…..

Click here for a slightly larger file, it’s a bit easier to see some of the text as I ‘chat’ with the model.

Update: The model has been selected as an effective practice by Sloan-C

Jun 27 07

First Post

by admin

I have decided to stop waiting for some ephemeral muse to visit me and allow me to create enlightened expositions here on my blog about engaging students. Primarily this blog will detail my quest to make the teaching of the Accounting Information System (currently taught using the transactional based – debit/credit approach) more engaging to my students. One of the tools I will be using is SecondLife, and have created a short (really test) clip of my small parcel in secondlife using Fraps, WindowsMovieMaker (to add audio) and finally SplashCastMedia to stream the video. Here it is below, I hope the test works.

Jun 24 07

Twitter Updates for 2007-06-24

by admin
  • Parties over, apparently I make great PBJ sandwiches and I’m the BEST DAD 🙂 #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Jun 23 07

Twitter Updates for 2007-06-23

  • Downloading this months picks: Chick Corea and Bela Fleck, Donny McCaslin (Soar and In Pursuit) #
  • Yeah I’m old fashioned and download entire “albums” #
  • And the last of my 40 track downloads: Donny McCaslin, The Way Through #
  • Listening to my new music and reviewing a new accounting text – music is great and the book isn’t too bad either #
  • Waiting for my oldest girl to get home from her B-day celebration – a day at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. #
  • My house will soon be taken over by too many teenage girls, by peaceful day is soon to end #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Jun 21 07

Twitter Updates for 2007-06-21

  • Shuttle landing delayed until tomorrow, awaiting the sonic boom with great anticipation #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Jun 20 07

Twitter Updates for 2007-06-20


Powered by Twitter Tools.

Jun 9 07

Hello world!

by admin

Hello World.