Using an Online Homework Manager

Accounting faculty know that completing the homework helps students learn accounting concepts and that students who exert more effort on homework assignments perform better on exams. Completion of homework helps to build students’ cognitive abilities, a skill that is highlighted in the Accounting Education Change Commission recommendations. In its report, the Commission suggests that motivated students are more likely to engage in activities which challenge and build their cognitive abilities. So what is the connection between motivation and the improvement of cognitive abilities? How can we help students to (a) be motivated to learn; and (b) improve their cognitive abilities? Can technology help us to do this?

Efforts to use technology to engage students and to help them learn content are increasing. While there are numerous technologies possible for students, I am currently working to develop a model to measure the impact of online homework management systems on student performance. Online homework management systems provide students the opportunity to practice working problems while receiving immediate feedback and online support via videos, problem demonstrations, and other multimedia aids. Instructors may structure the course so that students may resubmit homework problems, giving them the opportunity to keep trying until they get it right.

Because the use of online homework management systems is relatively new, little research has been done on its effectiveness. In a study of beginning accounting students, Peng (2009) examines how a student’s intrinsic motivation to learn the concepts (Need for Cognition), perception of the interactivity of the online homework manager, and computer efficacy impact the student’s usage of the homework management system. My work expands the work of Peng to build a model that includes additional theories and factors that may impact student use of the online homework management system. Additionally, the model developed will measure the impact of student usage of an online homework management system on student performance.

Basically, the model could study the following research questions:

  • What factors motivate students to use an online homework management system?
  • What factors contribute to a student’s satisfaction with an online homework management system?
  • How does a student’s intent to use the online homework management system impact his/her actual usage?
  • Does the use of an online homework management system affect student performance on exams?

Peng, J. (2009). Using an online homework system to submit accounting homework: Role of cognitive need, computer efficacy, and perception. Journal of Education for Business,  (May/June), pp. 263-268.

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Filed under Assessment of Student Learning, Teaching Online

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