Optimizing Course Management System Resources in the Introductory Accounting Course

Michelle Li-Kuehne, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University


Course Management Systems (CMS) such as Moodle, D2L, WebCT, and Blackboard are frequently used by faculty as auxiliary resources for introductory accounting courses. Instructors often develop creative CMS resources to make a positive pedagogical impact in achieving learning goals for their students. This study examines the effectiveness of CMS resources in the introductory accounting course. During three introductory financial accounting courses taught during the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 academic years, CMS videos, problem solutions, notes, slides, and other CMS resources were optional learning tools made available to students during the study. Analyses were performed to determine whether student CMS use correlated with student performance. Pre- and post- course exam were administered to assess how CMS use impacted student learning. In addition, a student survey was conducted to gather evidence to determine what resources were considered most useful by students, and to compare student perceptions of usefulness with actual use. Results of the study found that use of CMS resources do not appear to impact the course grade achieved by students in the introductory accounting course. The implication is that student entry-level skills are more influential in predicting course grade than other factors, including the degree of CMS use. In contrast, CMS use appears to impact students’ increased knowledge of the course material as shown by the comparison of post-exam to pre-exam scores. Of all the resources available, student use of videos showed the most significant relationship to improvement in the pre- to post-exam scores. By evaluating student CMS resource use and sharing best practices, faculty can continue to improve the learning experience for beginning accounting students.