Changing practice in accounting education
: experimentation, innovation, and encouragement

  • Alan Sangster

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This overview provides a summary of research that explores factors that affect the learning experiences of accounting undergraduates in Higher Education. The submission is based on eleven outputs, the research for which and publication of which spans the period 1988-2007. The outputs relate to the theme of improving or enhancing student learning and encouraging students to "learn how to learn" and to become lifelong learners.

    It starts with an overview of my career as a teacher, educator, and researcher which traces how I have developed during my career from an untrained and generally clueless teacher to someone who was passionately interested in developing the abilities of my students and motivated in both my teaching and research to convert them into lifelong learners.

    This is followed by a discussion of each of the eleven publications included in this thesis. Beneath the umbrella of the overall theme of encouraging students to "learn how to learn", these publications are organised into two themes [The Use of IT in Teaching and Learning; and, Using Accounting History to Increase the Relevance of Topics to Students] and a number of sub-themes.

    Together, these publications represent significant contributions to knowledge. These include:

    • being the first author in accounting education to demonstrate that asking students to prepare flowcharts of the rules in rule-based topics such as accounting standards may improve their performance in assessments;

    • the first review of the use of IT in accounting education to focus upon the adoption of computer based instruction;

    • the first paper (and the only one that I am aware of) that considers whether or not using computer based instruction as an additional, non-integrated into the course resource is a worthwhile use of resources;

    • the first paper I am aware of that presented data that supported the view that computer based instruction could replace lecturers with no impact on performance of the students;

    • the first paper published to foresee the impact World Wide Web may have upon accounting education and research;

    • the first time I am aware of anyone presenting results of a teaching innovation that involved use of the web where students were successfully guided outside their comfort zones;

    • the first paper to ever present an overview of how the World Wide Web was being used globally in accounting and finance education;

    • the first paper I know of that presented a case study of learning and assessment that showed that student performance on objective tests had a strong positive correlation with their performance on traditional written examinations and demonstrated that objective tests could guide student learning to the extent that they appeared to have directly impacted students' deeper understanding of their subjects;
    • the first paper to use a modern day learning materials developmental model to demonstrate that the bookkeeping treatise of Luca Pacioli published in 1494 was as carefully written as today's textbooks.

    My contribution to knowledge is then summarised and the number of citations of each publication according to Google Advanced Scholar is given, including the date of the latest citation. This is then followed by a list of all my publications. Signed letters from my co­ authors confirming my involvement in joint authored work are presented, followed by a list of the eleven publications included in the thesis. Finally, all eleven publications are presented.
    Date of AwardSept 2008
    Original languageEnglish


    • Accounting
    • Study and teaching

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