Archive for November 2008

I recently designed an assessment task for a postgraduate course in finance, requiring students to reflect on their performances supported by evidence. The type of artefacts the students will be producing would be an ideal collection for a job portfolio. A colleague from the finance field in fact commented that this type of assessment is applicable to, and indeed should be used in, every discipline. Had it not been for my concern about the readiness of the teaching team on implementing alternative forms of assessment, I would have directed the design of the task more explicitly towards portfolio-based assessment.

Nevertheless I couldn’t help but think of possibilities of this assessment approach if applied across a program of study, and I shared my thoughts with the PLE research folk, pointing out that an ePortfolio would be useful for this type of assessment. Nathaniel Fitzgerald-Hood discussed the limitations of ePortfolios in an email to me and asserted that

blog is perfect for this – much better organised and with the likes of WordPress/blogger, very open, standard and interconnected…  

So I decided to get to know WordPress a little more than my current use for it, i.e. posting and sharing my thoughts, experiences and interests in my blogs. I have had a digitised portfolio that I hand-coded a long time ago so I have a pretty good idea of design elements for the interface.

I am happy to note that my experiments in my blog site have worked… WordPress can indeed host my artefacts as well as document my life experiences and evolving thoughts on a variety of interests. It is very easy to create and manage pages, and I’m glad I gave it a try.

My next experiment will extend this site into my PLE… watch this space 🙂


My research collaborator and I presented a paper at the 9th International Business Research Conference “Research for Change” this week, on our accounting education research. The plenary session where our paper was scheduled to be presented started off with fewer number of people but I noticed that every chair was occupied during our presentation, then a few left again immediately after the discussion. There was a healthy discussion during our presentation, the only time I observed exchanges of ideas amongst participants. In contrast, the discussion in other presentations consisted mainly of presenter-questioner interaction.

It appears that accounting education research is of interest to many academics but very few papers are submitted to forums like this. As another presenter commented, discipline-based research remains to be the only type or research being promoted and supported at his university. Yet at the corridor after the plenary session, I was congratulated by two well-known Professors in Accounting, marvelling at the work we had done and commented that there should be more initiatives like ours proliferating the accounting education literature. Interestingly, we cited the work of one of these Professors published in a leading accounting education journal. He appeared surprised that we actually did so given that it was published 16 years ago. I responded that the problems in accounting education he reported all that long ago continue to persist today, e.g. passive learning, rule-based and out-of context teaching of accounting, students not ready for the demands of the profession, among others. An important point for reflection is that many accounting academics appeared oblivious to these problems due to their lack of familiarity with the accounting education literature, or lack of awareness that the traditional instructional approaches they are using are one of the main causes of these problems.

Our presentation was received favourably. As was the reaction at our University when we reported our research findings earlier this year, the audience at the Conference also commented that it takes time and effort to integrate innovations to learning and teaching, time they do not have or can afford.  People like me whom at times feel rebellious immediately thought, but not said aloud, there may not be students to teach at our university for long if we do not change our ways – research and teaching nexus is more critical now than ever before, please think about it! Of course, the issues are more systemic and deeper than this – paradigm shifts need to happen first and should start at both coal face and institutional level.

Another comment raised during our presentation was the issue of copyright. Someone from the audience asked

have you thought about copyright for your work, it’s very good and I think you should protect it. It is certainly more exciting than reading cases in the textbook.

We didn’t get a chance to respond to this comment directly as audience-audience interaction ensued on this topic. The issue of copyright is something that Stephen Downs (2005) feels strongly about, commenting that in our brave new world heavily influenced by Web 2.0 technology, sharing of content is not viewed as unethical but hoarding it is considered antisocial.

Indeed, we have much to learn and do in higher education about perceptions, assumptions and practice!


Downes, S. (2005) E-learning 2.0. eLearn Magazine. Accessed 1 February 2008,

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