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Teaching debits and credits – steamlining tutorials

September 9, 2011 Leave a comment

For the first time in many years I am back teaching basic transaction processing.  The last time I taught this material was 1991.  I am only conducting tutorials in this introductory subject so I have no control over the subject matter covered, the textbook used or the order in which it is taught.

I started conducting the tutorials the same way I had done them 20 years ago; having each student tell me how to record one transaction and writing that transaction on the whiteboard.  When I did this 20 years ago, the classrooms were equipped with chalkboards and most rooms had at least 6 square meters of chalkboard.  In the intervening time, the university has replaced all its chalkboards with whiteboards and, when doing so, reduced the board size to about 2 square meters.  To complicate matters, many of the rooms have fixed lecterns which block about half of the whiteboard from most students’ view.

To overcome the problem with the boards, I have started showing the general journal entries on a computer connected to a data projector.  I am using Excel to do this.  To streamline the process and to correct my error-prone typing, I have recorded all of the account names on a worksheet hidden from students’ view.  I have named the cells on this hidden sheets with abbreviations of the account name.  For example, the cell containing “Accounts Receivable” is named “ar”.  So, to get “Accounts Receivable” to appear in a cell in the general journal sheet, I enter “=ar” into the cell in which I want the account name to appear.

This method appears to be working well; speeding the recording process which allows me to allocate more time to the conceptual issues which are to be covered in the tutorial.

I am still getting each student to tell me how to record each transaction.  This allows me to identify the students who are having difficulty with the subject matter and help them with their difficulties.

I have been using my MacBookAir to display the entries rather than the Windows computer built into the lectern.  I find the new touchpad navigation functions in OS X Lion make it easier to use than using a Windows mouse.