Teaching accounting in the distance learning mode and on-campus mode: A comparative study at Wawasan Open University

Choo Hong Loo
Wawasan Open University

Penang, Malaysia

Wawasan Open University (WOU) was established in 2006 as the third open distance learning institution in Malaysia. WOU is the only open distance learning institution in Malaysia to offer Advanced Diploma and Honours Degree level studies in accounting. In September 2013, it opened its door to full-time on-campus learners with the initial offering of an honours degree in Accounting and Management. This study looks at the differences and challenges of presenting similar accounting degrees in both modes. Embarking on a new form of course presentation is a normal form of institution advancement, but WOU is different as it expanded from distance learning to include conventional on-campus learners. At the time of writing, WOU is the only institution in Malaysia that is licensed to present the accounting degree programme in both the distance learning and on-campus modes.

The author made a comparative study of the accounting programme through perusing various documents on the creation of the curriculum and approaches to teaching-learning that was submitted to the Malaysian Qualifying Agency and the various professional accounting bodies for the purposes of accreditation, and next looked at the presentation of the accounting courses at the University by observing how classes are conducted and assignments/examinations are presented in both modes.

Using Dick and Carey's (1996) instructional design model and Merrill's (2007, 2009) five prescriptive instructional principles, the researcher looks at how different the two modes of teaching-learning are. By understanding the characteristics of each mode, this study will be helpful to accounting instructors for designing and presenting accounting courses in the future to distance learning and on-campus students.