Innovation Grant Application

Type of Request:

Instructional Development



Dept. /Division

Full-time /Adjunct




Sheila Ammons

ACCO/Bus Stu




Project Title:

Development of On-Line Manuals: ACCT 2301 and ACCT 2302 Lab Activities

Project Type:

Multiple Courses: ACCT 2301 Prin FinAcct, ACCT 2302 Prin Mgrl Acct

Project Narrative/Description:

1. Instructional Need or Problem

ACCT 2301 (Principles of Financial Accounting) and ACCT 2302 (Principles of Managerial Accounting) are transferable courses. A computer lab was added to ACCT 2301 about 5 years ago. A computer lab was added to ACCT 2302 last fall. There are no commercial products that can be used to administer the labs. The Accounting Task Force has not required instructors to administer the same lab activities. Thus, each instructor must develop his or her own lab activities. This development has been time consuming and some results have been less than successful. Some instructors allow students to work at home, do not assign meaningful computer activities, and do not properly grade the lab activities (resulting in grade inflation). Some instructors do not want to invest the amount of time necessary to fully develop lab activities. Additionally, the Accounting Department has been hiring a large number of adjunct faculty for these two courses (4 for spring 01 and at least 2 for summer 01). New hires must rely on mentors and the program coordinator for assistance in development lab activities. This has not been successful.

Some ACCT 2301 and ACCT 2302 students are not completing adequate lab activities, assessment is not uniform, some faculty are not holding labs (getting paid for a lab but allowing students to work out of class), many students are bored with the lab, some instructors fail to properly judge the length of lab activities which causes students to have to work on the lab outside of the allocated time, and some faculty members are working harder than others (the ones who are properly developing and assessing their labs).

There is no way to measure the amount of grade inflation. Because of the absence of structure, many of the lab points are simply based on attendance or mere effort. Currently of 26 syllabi for ACCT 2301 and ACCT 2302, only 11 have specific lab activities listed. Only 3 of the syllabi have grading criteria for students. There are few measurable plans in place.

The Accounting Task Force feels that the labs are important both for the students’ understanding of the accounting concepts and for the development of computer and communication skills (SCANS skills).

The Accounting Task Force has formed a committee to work on the development of lab activities for ACCT 2301 and ACCT 2302. The committee has designed the basic objectives of the labs, determined the appropriate SCANS skills, and determined appropriate categories of lab activities. (See attachments.) The next step is for all faculty to be encouraged to submit fully developed lab activities. These will then be made available via the web. Faculty can preview lab activities and select the ones that will best support their course.

2. Audience and Number Affected

For fall 2000, there were 721 ACCT 2301 students and 300 ACCT 2302 students. For Spring 2001, there were 603 ACCT 2301 students and 324 ACCT 2302 students.

3. Project Goal(s)

Develop an on-line lab manual for instructors of ACCT 2301 and ACCT 2302. This manual will have properly developed lab activities. Faculty can select activities and integrate them into their syllabi.

4. Objectives / Outcomes

1. Improvement of selection and delivery of lab activities -- Instructors can select lab activities that have been developed and tested. This allows instructors to focus on delivery and evaluation of the activities instead of constantly having to create and 'class test' the activities.

2. Improvement in hiring and training new instructors -- New instructors will be more likely to accept teaching assignments and will spend less time developing the course because there will be a variety of activities from which they can choose.

3. Compliance with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board SCANS skills -- These lab activities will have clearly identified SCANS skills. This is evidence of the required integration of these important skills into our courses.

4. Alleviation of grade inflation -- These activities will have measurable objectives and suggested grading criteria. Students will know what is expected of them and instructors will have guidance with grading.

5. Improved syllabi -- It will be easier for instructors to develop lab activities. Thus, the syllabi will reflect the selected lab activities. Students, evaluators, accreditation agencies, and other schools will benefit from being able to identify the lab activities.

6. Increase percentage of syllabi that include lab activities (syllabi may include a brief overview of the lab activities to prevent students from completing these before the lab session and a more detailed listing of the lab activities may be submitted to the Accounting Department):

  • to 70% for the spring 2002 semester
  • to 90% for subsequent semesters.

7. Increase percentage of syllabi with specific grading criteria for the lab activities:

  • to 70% of the spring 2002 semester
  • to 90% for subsequent semesters.

5. Implementation

All activities must include:
  • Accounting Topic(s) Covered
  • SCAN Skills Covered
  • Lab Objective(s)
  • Estimated Completion Time
  • Teaching Notes (Including Feedback from Prior Use and Recommended Timing (i.e. after the accounting cycle, after bonds, etc)
  • Source of Activity (Instructor Created, From Textbook, From Web Site, Unknown) – This is needed to determine if permission must be obtained. If this is not original material, be very specific as to the source of the activity.
  • Group Activity or Individual Activity
  • Grading Information – Estimated Points Per Element of Activity, Instructor Graded or Student Graded
  • Software Needed
  • Lab Assignment (Ready to give to students)
  • Solution (if appropriate)
  • Estimated Time Required to Develop the Activity

The format for final submission must be on Word, PowerPoint, and/or Excel. Instructors can submit clearly labeled handwritten or cut and pasted work. The project manager can then arrange for computer input. Sufficient time should be allowed for this work to be completed.

Specific criteria for deciding which activities will be selected for the web site

1. Short Activities – Fit into one 50 minute lab

2. Long Activities – Fit into two 50 minute labs

3. Modules – Fit into 3 or more labs (continuation type activities)

  • Activities must be complete and have clear and measurable objectives.
  • Activities must support topics covered in the course.
  • Activities must support one or more SCANS skills.
  • Copyright issues must be addressed before the activity can be considered. (The Project Manager can ask for permission for use of copyright material. Be sure to provide the source of the material and allow time for this work to be completed. NOTE: If the activity is developing an item in the current text (including the Finnegan case book), the on-line activity will not reproduce the information for the students. It will refer to the specific item in the text. Students will work from their text.
  • Templates (if necessary) should be submitted. If students will create their own template, appropriate instructions to the students and an example of a finished worksheet should be submitted.

Specific criteria for determining the amount of stipend an instructor will receive

(1) Short Activities – Fit into one 50 minute lab -- Stipends will range from $12.50 - $50.

(2) Long Activities – Fit into two 50 minute labs – Stipends will range from $25 - $100

(3) Modules – Fit into 3 or more labs (continuation type activities) – Stipends will range from $20 - $150

A committee consisting of at least 2 full-time faculty and 1 adjunct faculty will review the activities. The amount of the stipends depends on:

  • The type of activity – short, long, modules
  • The originality required – If this is development of an exercise from the text (including the Finnegan case book for ACCT 2302), the amount of stipend will be lower than for an activity that was entirely created by the instructor. Also, modules developed from the work originally created by Lovick and Hitzfelder will be awarded lower stipends than original work. The stipends will be based on the amount of enhancements made to this original work.
  • The presence of the required items (see) –if some items are omitted, the amount of the stipend will be lower. Instructors should justify the reason for omitting items.
  • The estimated time needed to develop the activity -- instructors should be compensated approximately $25 per hour.
  • The quality of the activity -- Simple internet research and busy work may not be accepted. If accepted, these may be grouped together (to arrive at a 50 minute lab). Some related activities may be grouped into a category. The activity instructions may indicate that instructors can pick and choose two or more of the activities. Also, this type of activity will allow instructors to change the individual activities each semester. Thus, an activity may warrant a $12.50 stipend.
  • Duplication of work -- If a similar activity is received, a stipend may not be awarded because a similar activity has already been accepted.
  • Continuation of the activity – Activities that are text specific will be awarded lower stipends because their continued use is limited. Activities that will continue to be used regardless of the text will receive higher stipends. Also, these types of activities should require more work.
  • Appropriateness of grading – Activities that have clearly defined grading elements will receive higher stipends because they will help alleviate grade inflation. Activities that merely award points for completion will receive lower stipends.
  • Development of critical thinking skills – Activities that include appropriate discussion questions will be awarded higher stipends than activities that merely ask for information.

When the pool for stipends is depleted, there will be no money available to pay for activities. Instructors may submit activities and waive the related stipend. If an activity is rejected by the committee, the instructor may ask that it be included. It may be a good idea which does not warrant the grant of a stipend (i.e. very simple Internet research activities or very simple Excel activities).

Activities will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis. The review committee will meet approximately every three weeks and review all submissions. The committee may return activities for additional work and/or clarification.

The project manager will request payment of the stipends at the end of the semester – April, August, and November.

The duties of the program manager will include:

  1. Provide instructions to all faculty for soliciting activities and using activities
  2. Provide support to all faculty in submitting activities and using activities
  3. Seek copyright permission
  4. Provide feedback to instructors who submit activities
  5. Convene and chair the committee that screens the submissions
  6. Review submissions for completeness
  7. Request payment of stipends
  8. Conduct surveys of students and instructors to determine effectiveness of the on-line manuals
  9. Share information with other community colleges
  10. Complete required grant paperwork
  11. Review syllabi to determine the extent of improvements

The duties of the lab tech will include:

  1. Getting the activities on the web
  2. Preparing a working index of the activities
  3. Answering software and html related questions for instructors and hourly employees

6. Sustainability

The estimated completion time for this project will be about 12 months. The estimated completion date is 5/31/01. Once established, the web sites will be easy to maintain (remove, add, and update activities). Updating the web sites will become a part of the expected duties of faculty and lab techs. The benefits will continue as long as the courses are offered at Austin Community College.

7. Project Evaluation

Faculty and students will be surveyed during the fall and spring semesters to determine the benefits of having the on-line lab manuals. Their comments will allow us to improve the manuals.

Syllabi will be reviewed each semester to determine the adequacy of lab assignments and grading criteria.

The Accounting Task Force will maintain the manuals.

Statement of Qualifications

Project Lead

Sheila Ammons, Accounting Program Coordinator, 15 years as ACC accounting instructor

Budget Request:

Budget Items (Costs Omitted)

Year 1: 6/25/01 - 8/31/01

Project Manager
Hourly Employees
Faculty serving on committee
Instructors (for submissions)


Software (Adobe Acrobat)

Year 2: 9/1/01 - 5/31/01


Project Manager
Hourly Employees
Faculty serving on committee
Instructors (for submissions)

Supplemental Material submitted with application:

  • Grant Timeline
  • Current student survey instrument
  • Past student survey results
  • Lab activity guidelines for current courses