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Summary

Using Blackboard tests, the bachelor students of business studies and economics are given the opportunity of repeating the contents of the course "Basics of external corporate accounting" on their own and are able to check their individual knowledge level.   

The Blackboard homework was developed for the course "Basics of external corporate accounting" in the winter semester of 2013/14 and was also provided in the winter semester of 2014/15 in a revamped format. During the semester the course participants are provided with homework tasks on certain defined topics via the learning management system Blackboard. Thereby all students get the possibility of being able to repeat the contents of the lecture and seminar in a timely and independent manner. This gives them the chance of being able to check their individual knowledge level on a continuous basis. The homework tasks are set up with the Blackboard tool tests. Question types are used which allow Blackboard to automatically evaluate the answers. Therefore the course participant can receive an extensive and individual feedback after having submitted the homework. Completing the homework tasks is voluntary.

Table of contents

Course

Course title"Basics of external corporate accounting"
Course typeSupplement to the lecture and seminar
Department/InstituteBusiness and Economics, FACTS Department 
Degree program

Business Studies, Bachelor

Economics, Bachelor

LecturerProf. Dr. Klaus Ruhnke
No. of participantsCa. 550
PhaseDuring the entire semester
DurationOne semester
SWS/CP4 SWS / 6 CP

Tools

  • Blackboard tests

Realization

At the start we first had to get acquainted with and learn how to use the learning management system Blackboard. For this, amongst other things, we participated in the CeDiS training course Blackboard for advanced users: Tests and surveys. Then we jointly selected suitable question types and we developed individual homework tasks for specific topic areas. For this a test account and a test course were set up in Blackboard. Thereby it was possible to develop the tests without any interference from the outside and to test these beforehand in a realistic setting with an own account using the viewpoint of a course participant. With the help of the export-import function the homework tasks that were developed in the test course were then transferred to the module-accompanying Blackboard course. There they were made available to the course participants on a successive basis. Activating the respective units that need to be worked on oriented itself on the contents being taught in the seminar. This occurred after the last content-related course of a certain week had taken place. If there were technical problems or questions and criticism related to the problems being posed, then the students were able to contact the supervising teaching assistant at any time via e-mail.

Currently there are more than 10 homework tasks available that all contain between 10 and 15 questions. For this various different types of questions were used (illustrations 1 - 6). 


Illustration 1: Calculation (numerical)


Illustration 2: True/false; multiple answers


Illustration 3: Either/or; cloze text (multiple)


Illustration 4: Hotspot; unordered sentence


Illustration 5: Multiple choice; sorting


As questions dealing with external corporate accounting can usually be answered best using booking records, we developed a special booking mask with the help of the question type cloze text (multiple). This contains eight gaps that have to be filled in with accounts and EUR sums. For this purpose a uniform number format and an account frame is already in place that contains the account numbers of the respective accounts. For this set-up and for more details on the extensive automatic feedback that students receive after having submitted their work we created and provided a comprehensive guideline for the Blackboard homework tasks.  


Illustration 6: Cloze text (multiple)

Experiences made by the lecturer

A time-restricted setting for the homework tasks in the winter semester of 2013/14 led to criticism from the students. Based on this, we decided to provide the homework tasks on a successive basis without any time limitations during the winter semester of 2014/15. We allow the students to retake the tasks as often as they like. After they have handed in a task they receive a comprehensive feedback. Thereby it is especially important that the fields Feedback for correct and Feedback for incorrect for the individual questions are clearly set out in the test plan and have been prepared in a diligent manner: 

Illustration 7: Feedback for a correct answer

The opinion of the students is important to us as only with their feedback can we improve the existing questions and tasks. At the end of the semester our course participants are provided with an anonymous online evaluation (tool: Blackboard survey). We receive positive feedback especially when it comes to the comprehensive feedback as well as solution suggestions provided in the evaluation stage. We also take into consideration the improvement suggestions that we receive.  

In addition, we also use the evaluation listed in the grading section in order to judge activity and participation on a time scale. With this we can identify questions where a noticeable low score was achieved. Through this we can continually improve the homework tasks.  

Further information

  • Online evaluation of the Blackboard homework tasks (wiki)

Support offered by CeDiS

  • Consulting services for the implementation of digital solutions in teaching: The Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS) has extensive experience of many years when it comes to the implementation of digital media and systems within the fields of teaching, learning and research. We offer a wide variety of consulting services on the implementation of these tools and systems within the entire academic scope and especially at Freie Universität Berlin. 
  • Training courses and workshops: For lecturers at Freie Universität Berlin (professors, employees, tutors) as well as lecturers of other universities CeDiS offers training courses and workshops on the topic of teaching and learning with digital media. These course enable participants to implement online elements within their own sphere of teaching.
  • The Executive Board of the Freie Universität supports e-learning initiatives: With the e-learning funding program financial resources are provided to lecturers that enrich and improve their courses quality-wise by implementing technological and media-related support. All of the academic staff teaching, the lecturers or even the institutions of the Freie Universität - without the Charité-Universitätsmedizin - can be supported within this program. 

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