Constructing an Intermodal Learning Culture: How Accounting Students Deploy Language Resources to Learn across Classroom and Online Environments

By Maurice Ward, Tracy-Anne De Silva and Sidney Weil.

Published by The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education

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The advantages and disadvantages of using asynchronous and synchronous online forums have been documented in prior literature. However, limited research has explored their practical implementation and the impact they each have had on student learning. This paper addresses this gap, describing course changes that led to the implementation of a blended learning approach incorporating asynchronous and synchronous online chats into a second year university management accounting course. Furthermore, the paper explores, in detail, the learning experiences of students who participated in the synchronous online chat at a New Zealand university by examining one of the sessions in detail. Specifically, the paper explores, using discourse analysis, how the students deployed a sequence of casual and formal language resources to build the solidarity and trust required for a blend of face-to-face and online learning environments. This inter-modal community culture then provided for the acquisition of accounting skills. The analysis shows that the synchronous online chat instantiates and reveals a culture of learning across face-to-face and online modes. Students regarded the chat room as a place in which risks could be taken in their relationships with their teacher(s) and classmates and subsequently with their understanding of accounting concepts. This highlights the benefits synchronous online interactions can have in a blended learning environment.

Keywords: Learners, Blended Learning, Discourse Analysis, Online Chat, Accounting

The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp.67-87. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 975.226KB).

Dr. Maurice Ward

Educational Designer, Library, Teaching and Learning, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand

Maurice Ward is an education designer at Lincoln University in New Zealand. He focuses on cultivating programme-wide approaches to blended learning. Keeping pedagogical objectives firmly to the fore, Maurice works with faculty in looking at the best mix of face-to-face and online resources to meet required learning outcomes. He has taught and researched in tertiary eduation for over 20 years, his publications include work in linguistics, student peer and group work, and corpus analysis for teaching.

Dr. Tracy-Anne De Silva

Senior Lecturer, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Faculty of Commerce, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand

Dr. Tracy-Anne De Silva is a senior lecturer in accounting at Lincoln University, where she teaches introductory accounting and finance, and management accounting at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Her research interests include environmental and sustainability reporting; environmental management accounting; corporate social responsibility; sustainability practices and performance; and accounting education, particularly blended learning. She is an Associate Chartered Accountant of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Dr. Sidney Weil

Associate Professor, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Faculty of Commerce, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand

Associate Professor Sidney Weil lectures financial accounting and auditing at Lincoln University. His Ph. D, which examined the learning difficulties of first year accounting students, has led to a life-long interest in accounting education, a field in which has published extensively. One of these papers – on students’ perceptions of the usefulness of case studies - was awarded the Special Interest Group on Accounting Education of the British Accounting Association Best Paper Award for the four 2011 issues of Accounting Education: An International Journal. He has also published four text books on introductory accounting.