All the Benefits of the Double Entry Method Online
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All the Benefits of the Double Entry Method Online

AN INNOVATIVE PLATFORM ALLOWS TO ASSIGN ONE EXERCISE PER WEEK TO 1,200 ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT ANALYSIS STUDENTS, WITH GREAT ADVANTAGES IN TERMS OF FINAL RESULTS AND COURSE APPRECIATION

This year the Accounting and Financial Statement Analysis course in Italian (Bilancio) – attended by 1,200 students - was particularly appreciated by students and the first exam session recorded better average marks and less variability between different classes. These are the benefits of a transformation process initiated by the course coordinator, Gianluca Lombardi Stocchetti, in 2012 and culminated this year with the widespread adoption of an online excercise platform, developed by Prof. Stocchetti and co-teachers Susj Castenetti, Blasco Monteforte and Stefano Colombo, in collaboration with the Guerini Next publishing house.
 
The platform, accessible through a code to be found in the textbook, allows students to carry out both repeatable exercises and tests, that they can take only once, on the topics dealt with during the course. Students who decide to use the platform (they’ve been 95%) and pass the tests can "skip" one of the final exam exercises, but still get the three points earned by those who complete it correctly.
 
A platform of accounting exercises, based on the principles of the double-entry method, is far from trivial, so much so that it is still unique. “The development of the exercises was challenging”, says Stocchetti, “and forced us to make the text extremely precise and clean. “Now, however, we have a wealth of reusable exercises and a tool that can be easily updated in the light, for example, of new accounting principles and regulations". Furthermore, using an electronic tool was the only way to assign a set of exercises per week to 1,200 students and correct them almost automatically. “Finally”, says Stocchetti again, showing screens of statistics on students’ results, “one should not underestimate the aspect of business intelligence of learning. I now know exactly which parts of the program were well understood and which ones turned out to be more difficult, and I can make the necessary adjustments”.
 
The online platform is the last step in a process that began with the standardization of a course divided into 20 classes and taught by 46 teachers. “With the help of BUILT (Bocconi University Innovations in Learning and Teaching), we started transforming the course slides into animated slides and then, by adding audio, into 6-minute videos that summarize the essential parts of the program. Students appreciate them very much as a review or clarification tool, while we can project them at the beginning of any lesson as a recap of the topics already dealt with, before moving on to new ones".
 
In the first year of such a wide experimentation, the students' reaction is considered very positive by Stocchetti. “We made a sort of pact”, he says, “and there has been a lot of team spirit: they understood that it was still an experiment, they have had patience and their criticisms has been constructive”. The appreciation translated into a very high evaluation of the teachers by the students (an integral part of the monitoring of the educational processes at Bocconi).

by Fabio Todesco

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