26 June

Hi

Welcome to ACCT11059 Accounting, Learning & Online Communication. It is great to have you in our unit.

My name is Martin Turner and I am delighted to be your unit co-ordinator.

The Moodle site for our unit is now available. This is our unit’s website that contains resources, forums and other useful tools. Check it out; particularly the Weekly Schedule and the Assignments, both in the top centre section of Moodle.

Also, see the Study Guide (in the Study Guide section on the left-hand side of Moodle). The Study Guide contains the key resources for our unit. The Weekly Schedule shows you the topics we will be studying each week, the readings each week (from the Study Guide) and also when the assessed learning tasks in our unit are due. You will see there is quite a bit happening in our unit every week, starting in Week 1.

I am delighted to be working with everyone in our unit. We have people studying with us at BrisbaneSydney and Melbourne, as well as a great group of distance students from all around Australia.

And if you are a distance student with us, you are welcome to attend any of our classes in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, should you ever wish to. We only ask that you contact the lecturer at that location beforehand, so they can expect you and also make sure there will be sufficient space for you. The contact details of our teaching staff can  be found at Unit Contacts in the Information section on the top left hand side of Moodle.

I live in Yeppoon in central Queensland, a beautiful coastal spot about 600km north of Brisbane. The Keppel Islands are just a few kilometres from the coast. It is a magical place for sailing with lots of sailing events. The snorkelling and more snorkelling and diving are sensational and the islands are brilliant.

I just love teaching first year accounting, both for people starting out in their accounting degree; and for people studying other degrees. In our unit, there will be some people very excited and looking forward to studying accounting, perhaps for the first time. There will also be some people who have little or no interest in accounting, who are only doing it because it is a compulsory unit in their degree, and who have lots of ‘commonly held misconceptions’ (and yes, downright fears) about what accounting actually is.

If that is you, then you may be feeling nervous and worried about studying accounting. You may be concerned that you will find accounting boring or uninteresting; that it may involve numbers, and maths may not have been one of your strong suits at school. And you may be worried that you might fail our subject. Indeed, some people may have delayed studying our subject until the end of their degree (even though they should be studying it in their first year) because they are so worried about studying accounting.

If you are feeling this way, do not worry. You will not be alone. Many people in our unit will be feeling exactly the same way.

Our unit is an introductory accounting subject. It is not difficult; but rather an opportunity for you to gain an introduction to what accounting is. As long as you come with me on the trip of this unit, pretty well everyone should (at least) pass; and you have the opportunity to gain some valuable insights of your own into accounting.

We will consider why accounting is so important in business. Isn’t it just about a few nerdy people who lack basic interpersonal skills and who seem to like numbers and sitting in darkened back rooms being ‘bean counters’?

Well, in this unit you will have the chance to ask yourself ‘what exactly is accounting?’ And what is its role in business? And also whether or not knowing something meaningful about accounting might be important for me in my business, investing and professional career?

I will give you your own company at the end of Week 1, at 5.00pm Friday 14 July. This will be available in the top central section of Moodle. I will also email everyone (as well as post on the unit Facebook page and on my blog) to let you know when they are available.

Your company may be from Australia, New Zealand, UK, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America or Canada. Your company will use international accounting standards so we can together make sense of our firm’s accounts from a range of different countries, as all our companies will be following the same accounting ‘rules’. Your company may have exotic and well-known international brands, or it may be a business completely unknown to you. Either way, the central question we will explore is whether or not our firm’s accounts can help us, or hinder us, to better understand what is really going on in our firm.

In our unit we have no exam. This will be great at the end of term. If you are studying other units with exams, this will allow you to focus on preparing for those exams. But the trade-off (and there is always a trade-off, isn’t there?) is that there are a series of assessments spread evenly throughout the term. This means in our unit you need to work steadily each week; that is right, every week.

The key assessment is a major assignment broken into two stages (ASS#1: 25%, ASS#2: 70%) with each stage building on the one before; and with each stage having steps due progressively through the term.

For example, ASS#1 is due at 11.00am Monday 7 August (Week 5). In addition, Step 1 (the first step) of ASS#1 is due by 11.00am Monday 17 July (Week 2); and Step 2 is due by 11.00am Monday 24 July (Week 3). Step 1 involves us reading the Introduction and Chapter 1 from the Study Guide and including some of our key concepts and questions from these readings. Step 2 involves us setting up our personal profile on Moodle and setting up our blog.

And why not visit my blog (and others blogs) and leave a comment and say hi. I look forward to hearing from you.

The other part of the assessment is PeerWise, worth 5%. Being active on PeerWise can also really help you with your major assignment.

Now one thing you should get started on right away is PeerWise. Click on the PeerWise folder (just beneath the Weekly Schedule) in the top central section of Moodle. There you will find everything you need to know about how to get started on PeerWise (and also the marking guidelines for PeerWise). You should register and get started on PeerWise now. It is open and you can start now. No need to wait until Week 1. I have already included a few questions in PeerWise to get things started (which will also help me get my own personal score on PeerWise started too!). Catch me if you can!

The idea with PeerWise is that you read the reading from the Study Guide each week. You can see what chapters from the Study Guide to read each week from the Weekly Schedule. And you can find the Study Guide by clicking on ‘Study Guide’ in the Study Guide section on the left hand side of Moodle.

I know this may be a new experience for you, but in this unit I actually expect everyone … yes, everyone … to complete the readings properly and thoughtfully each week (and before class, if you are attending classes). PeerWise is designed to help support you to do this, and to help you gain some initial insights about some of the key concepts about accounting that we will study each week.

While reading the Study Guide each week, write down a few multiple choice questions to include on PeerWise (and their solutions). Then enter these into PeerWise. Also, answer a few questions from other people, and also rate their questions, and you can comment on some of these questions as well. Do a little bit of this each week. Tip: There is a great advantage in starting PeerWise early. So if you want to get a great score on PeerWise, I strongly advise you to get started now.

You will also find a link here to our unit’s Facebook page; which you can also find in the Communication section on the right hand side of Moodle. Click on this link and ask to be included as a member of the Facebook page of our unit. You then might like to write a post saying hi to everyone and introducing yourself to others.

You will quickly realise that interaction and discussion with others in our unit is critical – indeed, essential – to be able to complete the assessed learning tasks. You will find you need to discuss with others to help you develop your own understanding and personal meaning about key concepts in accounting and, indeed, about what accounting actually is. So you may need to adjust how you learn, to learn for understanding (rather than simply ‘rote learn’ material you may not properly understand for yourself); and as you seek to understand what we are studying each week through your discussions and interactions with others, you will find a lot of these interactions we have with each other will be online.

Our Facebook page, the various Moodle forums, our blogs and UCROO (pronounced U-Crew) are key vehicles we will use to help us connect with others in our unit, no matter where we are; whether on any of our locations or online across Australia. You will find there are a really great group of people in our unit to interact with; and as we all have different companies, we can share our work freely with each other and discuss aspects of our assignments without any fear of people ‘copying’ our work. You will find we all need to understand the key concepts for ourselves, for us to be able to apply them to the special and particular situation of our own individual company.

We expect we will have about 150-200 people enrolled in our unit this term, including about 75-100 distance students.

Others teaching in our unit are:

Lois Kempnich: Brisbane location. Lois and I have worked together for many years. Lois is an experienced accountant and university lecturer, with a real heart and capacity to support the learning of our students in Brisbane.

Peter Zhang: Sydney location. Peter and I have worked together for a number of years. Peter is an experienced teacher on our Sydney campus with a strong determination to support the learning of our students in Sydney.

Mitch Hsu: Melbourne location. Mitch and I have also worked together for a number of years. Mitch is an experienced teacher in accounting with considerable capacity. Mitch is looking forward to supporting the learning of our students in Melbourne.

Contact details of our teaching staff are available by clicking on ‘Unit Contacts’ in the Information section on the left hand side of Moodle.

The unit profile for our subject is also available. You can find it in Moodle, in the Information section on the top left hand side of Moodle.

If you have any trouble finding our Moodle site, please contact our ITD Helpdesk (TaSAC) and they will be only too happy to help you.*

It is great to have you in our unit. I look forward to working with you as together we seek to find out whether accounting can help, or perhaps hinder, us to better connect to and understand our firm.

Regards
Martin

26 June

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