This study investigates a perceived student performance disparity between traditional synchronous and web-based asynchronous course delivery. Synchronous classes meet face-to-face or online with scheduled meeting times and the ability to directly monitor class attendance and participation. Asynchronous classes are 100% online, requiring no face-to-face or online live sessions. This study identifies student attributes associated with performance differences in the two delivery modes. The authors examine data from over 15,000 students who took introductory financial and managerial accounting classes at a large state university. The authors analyze student demographic and class performance data. Controlling for instructor and year effects, the authors find a statistically significant lower DFW rate (better performance) in the synchronous introductory accounting classes compared to the asynchronous ones. Using these findings, the authors revised scheduling and advising protocols to improve student success likelihood in the asynchronous sections. This study provides two insights applicable to many accounting departments. First, the results suggest that empirically exploring student performance implications may be warranted as the number of web-based asynchronous class offerings grow. Additionally, the study provides an example of working within the limitations of existing registration policies and systems to translate the result of the analysis into improved advising and scheduling approaches.
The authors would like to thank the Wayne Schneider, Director, Institutional. Research at Kent State University for providing the needed data to support our analysis. Professor Sellers and Professors Tietz gratefully acknowledge the KPMG LLP Kent State University Endowment for financial support of his research.
Data Availability: Sample SAS code and data are available from the author upon request.
Sellers, R.D., Tietz, W. and Zhou, Y. (2022), "Choosing Synchronous Versus Asynchronous Introductory Accounting Classes: A Data Analytics Approach to Student Advising and Scheduling", Calderon, T.G. (Ed.) Advances in Accounting Education: Teaching and Curriculum Innovations (Advances in Accounting Education, Vol. 26), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 55-76. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1085-462220220000026004
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