2010-2011 Funded Projects

The State of Accounting Education in U.S. Business Schools: An Examination and Analysis of Active Learning Methods and Related Technology Employed by Accounting Educators

Alan Blankley, David Kerr, and Casper E. Wiggins

Abstract: Twenty years ago, the Accounting Education Change Commission (AECC) called for major changes in the way accounting students at universities and colleges in the U.S. are educated. The changes advocated by the AECC were intended to make students active participants in the learning process rather than passive recipients of information, and specifically included increased use of learning by doing, working in groups, and creative use of technology. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that significant changes have occurred during the past 20 years in accounting education. Indeed, some evidence suggests that accounting educators might be relying more on the traditional lecture approach than ever before. For instance, in a recent study of graduate accounting education, Frecka and Reckers (2010) state, “anecdotally, there has been a drift toward more accounting “knowledge” as opposed to “skills” development…over the last decade.”

In this study, we will attempt to answer three important questions regarding the use of active learning techniques by accounting educators in the U.S. These questions are: (1) What techniques and technologies are accounting educators currently using to encourage active learning, (2) What barriers are preventing accounting educators from making greater use of active learning techniques in their courses, and (3) Are there significant differences in faculty’s and students’ perceptions of the effectiveness of active learning techniques?

Full proposal: The State of Accounting Education in U.S. Business Schools [PDF, 1106 KB]

A Project-Based Integrated Work/Review Cycle (PBIWR) for Design and Learning of Accelerated Construction Monitoring

Don Chen and Shen-En Chen

Abstract: To minimize impact due to travel delay, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has been pushing for Accelerated Construction (AC) techniques for public transportation construction. In contrast to traditional construction techniques, the AC technology is envisioned by this federal agency to have the potential to generate great savings for the nation by eliminating unnecessary traffic jams. This change in construction philosophy offers a great opportunity to introduce the advanced concept of full monitoring of structural construction/aging processes via embedded sensing technologies. Since this involves both inspection techniques and construction management, this proposal suggests an integrated learning approach that offers a design project-oriented course content that is offered in both Construction Management (ET) and Structural Monitoring (CEE) courses, such that students from both Departments can work separately, but produce one project outcome. The primary objectives of this research are to: (1) enhance students’ skills of generating creative and realistic solutions for solving open-ended problems; (2) promote an active learning environment by diffusing interdisciplinary knowledge and engaging collaborations amongst graduate/undergraduate study groups; and (3) disseminate findings via international and national conferences, including the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference in 2012, Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) international conference in 2012, and a reports and presentations to the university community.

Full proposal: A Project-Based Integrated Work/Review Cycle [PDF, 140 KB]

Improving Geographic Knowledge Discovery and Spatial Reasoning with Mobile and Web-based Geographical Information Systems

Eric Delmelle, Wenwu Tang, and Laurie Garo

Abstract: Over the last decade, a dramatic rise in the availability of Internet mapping services, such as Google Earth, has allowed users to overlay and display geographic data, increasing geographic knowledge discovery. Very noteworthy is the recent deployment of these mapping services onto mobile devices, such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and I-phones, allowing one to hold computing power in the palm of one’s hand, offering the possibility of delivering location-dependent information. However, most mobile applications have limited functionality, restricted to location mapping and data collection.

Our research objective is to advance geographic knowledge discovery and to foster spatial reasoning through mobile geographic education. Specifically, we propose to design and develop a suite of web-based Geographical Information Systems (GIS) tools, deployable through wireless technology on mobile devices equipped with GPS units. Location-dependent functionality on mobile devices will encompass functions stimulating active learning processes through in-field experiments, such as overlay analysis, line-of-sight between points and viewshed analysis, proximity analysis, computation of service areas and combining spatial and attribute queries. Our second objective is to demonstrate that the integration of mobile technology in GIS-related courses facilitates collective learning experience. Access to this technology will enable students to use Internet mapping in dynamic and interactive ways to engage them in generating hypotheses, formulating spatial relationships, ultimately advancing geographic knowledge discovery. Most importantly, the proposed mobile computing technologies will allow teachers to bring the classroom into the field. This technology will be incorporated as in-situ laboratory exercises in five introductory GIS courses, and on-site workshops.

Full proposal: Improving Geographic Knowledge Discovery and Spatial Reasoning [PDF, 498 KB]

Supporting the Transition and Adaptation of Academic Programs for Online Delivery: An Analytic Framework

Meredith DiPietro

Abstract: The field of online learning research spans the context of educational settings, providing recommendations and strategies for adapting traditional, face-to-face courses for online delivery. Underlying this work are analytic reports of the transitional process, as well as data collected from students and faculty, to determine the effectiveness and academic success of online course strategies. While this work serves to inform the adapting of a course or series of courses, an area in need of further investigation is the adaptation of academic degree programs for full online delivery. There are many dimensions of the online degree transition process not accounted for in current literature, such as the adaptation of administrative, instructional, and academic support strategies to meet the demands of online program delivery. The goal of this proposal is to conduct an in-depth investigation into the Instructional Systems Technology M.Ed. online degree program offered through the Department of Educational Leadership to understand and articulate the process of transition in order to develop a cohesive plan outlining strategies for meeting the needs of the IST program, faculty, and students. The outcomes of analysis and developed plan will document the ongoing program evaluation process, which will be used to develop a framework for administrative, programmatic, and instructional leaders throughout the UNC Charlotte community to support the transitioning face-to-face programs for 100% online program delivery.

Full proposal: Transition and Adaptation of Academic Programs for Online Delivery [PDF, 728 KB]

Windows into Teaching and Learning [WiTL]

Tina L. Heafner and Teresa M. Petty

Abstract: Clinical experiences in public schools are a requirement for all teacher education candidates seeking licensure. Clinical experiences range from ten to thirty hours per course and many university students take multiple education classes during the same semester. In addition to the number of clinical hours, teacher candidates are also expected to participate in three diverse clinical settings (e.g. three semester placements in an urban, suburban, and rural school). While these requirements traditionally have not posed a barrier for university students, new challenges have emerged with online licensure programs. We define these as potential barriers limiting the geographic outreach and diversity of recruitment of qualified professionals in high-need areas (STEM subjects). In response to these clinical obstacles and with our growing desire to provide quality online learning, we have developed a research project that will explore options for clinical experiences and technology mediated alternatives to school-based clinicals. Our goal is to develop a process for facilitating meaningful and quality clinical experiences that provide a window into teaching and learning [WiTL]. This process is more than access to a classroom. It is also a systematic process for reflective analysis of pedagogical decision-making and its impact on adolescent learners. This project will serve as a pilot study examining two viable platforms for online clinicals: asynchronous and synchronous. Results will inform future programmatic decisions and outreach within the College of Education. Additionally, the study will serve to jump-start efforts for external funding to support technology initiatives in teacher education.

Full proposal: Windows into Teaching and Learning [PDF, 200 KB]

Engaging Intelligent Dialogue on Sensitive Issues With Social Work Students

Eun K. Othelia Lee

Abstract: While training social work students to become culturally-competent practitioners is at the forefront of multicultural higher education, integrating diversity issues presents challenges for both students and faculty. The purpose of the project is to provide a safe learning environment in which social work students can gain cultural competency by extending multicultural education learning experiences beyond the time and space of the classroom. Building on the applicant’s previous research, this project will use instructional technology to promote social work student learning on diversity issues in the Field Seminar. Diversity homepage and discussion forum are offered online to teach diversity content and to facilitate open and honest dialogue on sensitive issues related to race, ethnicity, social class, economic status, sexual orientation, immigration, spirituality, aging, and disability. The diversity assignment is designed to encourage student’s critical thinking and self reflection in the areas of cultural awareness and competence. Students can reflect upon their experience, delineate what was learned from it, and how it will inform their work in the future. The outcome evaluation will examine the efficacy of this educational approach in promoting improved diversity values, attitudes, and knowledge among M.S.W. students. It is expected that the use of innovative strategies such as online discussion forums (ODF) and diversity assignments (DA)—learning tools consistent with the premises of adult learning and self-efficacy theory—will enable students to gain a greater degree of diversity skills, knowledge, and values as outcomes of their social work education and field experiences.

Full proposal: Engaging Intelligent Dialogue on Sensitive Issues [PDF, 141 KB]

Historical Documentary Video Production: An Innovative Teaching and Learning Tool for Public History

Dan Morrill and Karen Flint

Abstract: The Public History concentration within UNC Charlotte’s graduate history program seeks an SOTL grant as a means to add a video production component to our curriculum and public history media lab. Our program’s new media focus (creating websites, CD-ROMs, digitizing images and collections) means that students not only learn historical skills but software programs that allow them to make multimedia presentations of their work and increase their competitiveness on the public history job market. Video production has become an increasingly important aspect of new media and necessary for our students’ professional development. While historical documentaries have long been used for pedagogical purposes or popular consumption, short and medium length video clips are increasingly incorporated into historical websites, historical sites, museums, and oral histories. Historical documentary production requires both basic film and video production skills, but also requires skills that are unique to the history profession. Unfortunately, we learned our students could only acquire basic video production skills on a limited basis on our campus. In the fall of 2009, Dr. Dan Morrill taught a pilot course on “The Fundamentals of Video Production.” We realized then that if students were to really gain exposure to this innovative publication tool, they needed access to better video production equipment that would allow them not only to create high quality footage, but to edit it and place it within a larger video narrative.

Full proposal: Historical Documentary Video Production [PDF, 220 KB]

Online Tutorial to Strengthen Research Skills

Lisa Nickel, Heather McCullough, Somaly Kim Wu, and Donna Lanclos

Abstract: The purpose of this project is to create a reusable learning object in Moodle to teach students about plagiarism, how to identify and avoid it, and to test their understanding of plagiarism at the end of the module. The resource will be developed within Moodle and available to any UNC Charlotte instructor to add to his or her course. The learning object will be comprised of a video- and multi-media tutorial that leads students through a series of issues related to understanding, identifying, and avoiding plagiarism. We will develop a lesson plan and guide for instructors who wish to add the module to their course. Understanding and avoiding plagiarism is essential to conducting research. This project addresses the need to help students build strong research skills and to use and attribute traditional and online research materials appropriately. The module itself will provide prompt feedback to the students and communicate high expectations for sound research practices. The module will allow for increased faculty-student interaction by providing instructors guidance in the area of plagiarism. Additionally, the project addresses University Goal #5, to assist faculty to deliver effective instruction, and University Goal #8, to develop students’ fundamental skills of inquiry in writing, […and…] information literacy. This project will help the Library meet its organization goals as well, including Goal #1, supporting research and curricular needs, Goal #2, providing services to increase success of our community, and Goal #3, to design, test, and improve systems that support the discovery and use of scholarship.

Full proposal: Online Tutorial to Strengthen Research Skills [PDF, 430 KB]

Preserving Legacy through Repertory: Its Role in Professional Development for Arts Teachers

Pamela Sofras and Kim Jones

Abstract: Preserving Legacy through Repertory is the proposed title of a series of professional development activities including a Summer Teacher Institute for public school dance teachers around the region. Activities will feature the learning of dance repertory by Martha Graham, a master 20th Century American artist featured in the NC Standard Course of Study. Former Graham Company member, Kim Jones and Dance Chair Pamela Sofras, have received a $15,000 NEA American Masterpieces Grant to reconstruct a Graham masterwork for UNC Charlotte dance students during spring semester 2011. The master work, Primitive Mysteries was created in 1931 and is considered Graham’s first masterpiece performed during the decade of the birth of American Modern Dance, 1930-1940. By highlighting the beginnings of the new art form, UNC Charlotte faculty may provide an innovative direction for dance educator professional development based on historical modern dance masterworks previously unavailable to teachers. Jones and Sofras request SOTL funds to support a week-long Summer Teacher Institute in addition to the NEA grant supported Educational Performance and school lecture/class tour. The grant would cover instruction, workshop expenses and teacher stipends so that public school dance educators may have the opportunity, to see a masterwork, study it in more depth and see the work presented in their own classrooms. This first series of activities, professional and pedagogical, will provide a model for future teacher workshops, aimed at bringing public school arts teachers to campus and dance professionals with masterworks into the schools. All activities will also be open to current graduate and undergraduate licensure students.

Full proposal: Preserving Legacy through Repertory [PDF, 1291 KB]