Insights into accounting education in a COVID-19 world: the Belgium case
Opdecam E. & Everaert P. in Sangster, A., Stoner, G., and Flood, B. (2020). Insight into accounting education in a COVID-19 world. Accounting Education, 29(5), 431-562
On Friday 13 March 2020, COVID-19 entered our academic lives. From one day to another, we had to switch unprepared from traditional campus-education to online teaching. In this chapter of the paper, we present our eight lessons learned in Belgium, based on our expertise of online teaching in a first year undergraduate accounting course.
(1): ‘Structure is of utmost importance’. As the regular weekly schedule of the campus activities disappeared, students could no longer see the wood for the trees. Therefore, we advise instructors to streamline the communication flow and post the recorded livestream-sessions week by week on the on-campus timeslots assigned for the courses. This provides a sense of structure that makes students feel more comfortable.
(2): ‘Students prefer online-synchronous teaching’. Students like to see the instructor as if he/she is teaching like in an on-campus class. The instructor should give the lesson during the scheduled timeslot, so that the students can watch at home while the instructor is teaching (real time). These live sessions should be didactic in nature, with the instructor posing questions and providing time to think.
(3): ‘Communication should be COVID-19 proof’. We suggest to cluster the communication and communicate only once per week. In addition, clearly emphasise why certain decisions are made.
(4): ‘Accounting instructors need an online blackboard/whiteboard-equivalent’. The blackboard is still one of the most important tools in a classroom. However, many students complained that the blackboard was not readable in a live streaming class. In an online setting, the instructor needs a tool that makes it possible to create drawings and diagrams that are legible and recordable.
(5): ‘Virtual creativity’. Online classes are very time-efficient as an instructor does not spend time on breaks or funny things. However, we would like to advise you to make the online classes as enjoyable as an on-campus class.
(6): ‘Ask a buddy to help you during the online synchronous lesson’. If you are teaching in a livestream-session, you are alone in the room. Therefore, the instructor is not always aware of the technical problems. This is why we recommend to ask a buddy to follow your livestream sessions.
(7): ‘Plan your online-lesson-design’. If you want to design a powerful online lesson, include a strong beginning, body and ending. It is also important to differentiate in terms of learning activities. Include moments of interaction with the students and pay attention to the ending of the lesson.
(8): ‘Don’t forget yourself’. All teachers have selected this profession to interact, collaborate and work with students. Therefore, we advise teachers to have many online interactions with students and to stay connected.
Download the paper here.