What is the idea?
The idea of this chapter is to discuss engagement techniques used during lectures, workshops and seminars mainly across accounting modules during the covid era, highlighting what worked well and the drawbacks from an active participation point of view. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic forced higher education institutions to move most teaching activities online (Gallagher & Palmer, 2020). More than ever, technology enhanced learning tools have become increasingly useful in teaching and learning (Al-Ataby, 2020).
Why this idea?
The most noticeable advantage of using online learning tools is that it enables monitoring of student engagement. This includes both primary engagement, monitored during synchronous teaching sessions e.g. using multiple-choice quizzes and Padlet exercises to test students’ ability to apply concepts taught to real life cases during the lecture; and secondary engagement, monitored outside the classroom e.g. online quizzes (Coovadia & Ackermann, 2021). During the pandemic, the use of online learning tools enabled tutors to find out what was happening behind those black screens during the synchronous lectures and seminars.
Some of these tools, such as having pre-lecture videos and embedding quizzes in these videos might be useful even after the pandemic. This idea is drawn from flipped learning approach which has been highly regarded for its aim to bridge the gap between active learning and actual content coverage (Gopalan & Klann, 2017). The study by Pinto-Llorente et al. (2017) also found that the benefits of using asynchronous technological tools include improving student performance while allowing them to learn at their own pace. In the author’s experience, the use of pre-lecture videos and quizzes was particularly beneficial in giving both direct entry students and students progressing from year 1 the opportunity to have foundational but essential knowledge about a topic (by watching the pre-lecture videos and attempting the quizzes embedded in the videos) before attending the related synchronous lecture.
The most noticeable success of using pre-lecture videos, and quizzes during lectures were higher attendance rates for the module where this method was introduced. The use of quizzes during lectures also provided a more representative performance of students as many students participated in the exercises compared to other methods such as asking the questions verbally. Formal module evaluation from students also highlighted pre-lecture videos and quizzes as part of the ‘best aspects of the module’.
How could others implement this idea?
Pre-lecture video + quiz
- Record one or more videos on the introductory aspect of a topic. Panopto (www.panopto.com) is a common tool used to create recordings in higher institutions. Ideally each video should be no more than 15 minutes.
- Ensure that the videos relate to the learning outcome(s) of the topic. The tutor could focus on a maximum of two of four learning outcomes for example.
- Add a quiz to the video. Where possible, the tutor may add a question after covering a concept that relates to the learning outcome, after solving a question and towards the end of the video to check that the learning outcomes have been achieved. One advantage of using Panopto to embed quizzes in videos is that it stops the listener from moving on to other parts of the video until they have attempted the quiz.
- Ensure that closed captions are added to the videos.
- When students have watched the video and attempted the quiz, the tutor can then download the results and statistics from Panopto and analyse results. Feedback can be provided at the beginning of the related synchronous lecture.
Multiple-choice questions that can be used during live/synchronous lectures
- Several tools can be used to create multiple-choice questions such as Vevox (www.vevox.com).
- During the lecture, students will be provided with the meeting ID. Once the poll is open, students can participate with their smart device (e.g. phones, tablets, laptops, etc.)
- Students who have chosen the right answer will know immediately after attempting the quiz. The poll results can be verbally discussed during the lecture.
Padlet summaries during live/synchronous lectures, seminars and workshops
Padlet is a web-based tool that can be used to collect responses from students particularly on discursive topics during lectures, seminars and workshops. For large cohorts, placing students into virtual groups (also known as breakout rooms in Zoom) will provide an opportunity to collaborate and provide an agreeable summary of their discussion on Padlet.
To use this tool, the tutor would create an account on Padlet (www.padlet.com) and then create a Padlet. Questions to be discussed in breakout rooms can be provided on the created Padlet page.
For seminars and workshops where topics related to research articles will be discussed:
- Students would have been provided in advance with seminar/workshop questions with references of relevant articles to be discussed during the seminar/workshop.
- During the seminar/workshop, students will be asked to discuss the seminar questions in breakout rooms and put a summary of their discussion on Padlet (the Padlet link is usually shared before students go into their breakout rooms).
- Students are brought back to the main room to discuss the Padlet summaries.
- If the cohort is split into more than one seminar group, the Padlet summaries can be published after all seminars have taken place. This allows students to compare their answers with those from other seminar groups.
- Here, Padlets can be used for knowledge application exercises and real-life scenarios. E.g. When teaching about Sustainability Accounting, a question such as ‘what sustainability issues can be found in the construction industry?’.
- The Padlet link and the question to be discussed are shared before students go into their breakout rooms.
- Students can be asked to discuss the question very briefly in their groups (e.g., 5 minutes) and put a summary on Padlet.
- The summaries on Padlet can then be discussed during the lecture.
Transferability to different contexts
Online learning tools such as Padlet have been used in teaching on modules offered in various departments. Padlet exercises can be used at both undergraduate and postgraduate level to improve student participation particularly on discursive topics. However, the success of breakout room discussions might depend on willingness and individual circumstances of students in the rooms. Some are likely to be more engaging than others.
Although asynchronous pre-lecture videos have only been introduced to an undergraduate accounting module, they can be useful for postgraduate modules where the learning outcomes of topics are linked and can be split into introductory aspects and further complex aspects. Online quizzes embedded in pre-lecture videos can be used for both calculative topics and discursive topics. If students are expected to watch multiple pre-lecture videos weekly, a mixture of open-ended questions and multiple-choice questions might be more beneficial to assess their understanding of the learning materials and application to practical scenarios.
Vevox can be introduced to both calculative topics and discursive topics where students’ understanding can be tested with multiple-choice questions.
Links to tools and resources
Al-Ataby, A. (2020). Technology-enhanced learning and teaching in COVID-19 era: Challenges and recommendations. International Journal for Innovation Education and Research, 8(10), 317-331. https://doi.org/10.31686/ijier.vol8.iss10.2684
Coovadia, H., & Ackermann, C. (2021). Integrating digital pedagogies into a typical student learning lifecycle and its effect on exam performance. Accounting Education, 30(1), 42-62. https://doi.org/10.1080/09639284.2020.1811993
Gallagher, S., & Palmer, J. (2020, September 29). The pandemic pushed universities online. The change was long overdue. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/09/the-pandemic-pushed-universities-online-the-change-was-long-overdue.
Gopalan, C., & Klann, M. C. (2017). The effect of flipped teaching combined with modified team-based learning on student performance in physiology. Advances in Physiology Education, 41(3), 363-367. https://doi.org/10.1152/advan.00179.2016
Pinto-Llorente, A. M., Sanchez-Gomez, M. C., Garcia-Peñalvo, F. J., & Casillas-Martin, S. (2017). Students’ perceptions and attitudes towards asynchronous technological tools in blended-learning training to improve grammatical competence in English as a second language. Computers in Human Behavior, 72, 632–643. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.05.071