Online accounting program highly ranked
Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013 23:01
UConn’s online master’s degree in accounting program was named as the No. 8 online business graduate program nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.
The program started at UConn in 1999 and became completely online in 2003, according to the program’s website. It offers flexible learning options for those looking for an advanced degree within their profession.
The program starts with a five day course at UConn’s Storrs campus, ACCT 5505, followed by the online courses. If a student is full-time, he or she can finish the degree in as quickly as eight months, according to the program’s website.
UConn’s program received particularly high scores in the categories of faculty credentials and training, student engagement, and admissions selectivity.
The program was boosted by their AACSB accreditation, high graduation rate, maximum class size of 30, providing feedback on student participation, collaborative coursework, formal copyright policy, anti-plagiarism policy and instructor response time frame, according to Amy Dunbar, the faculty director of UConn’s MSA program and an associate professor of accounting.
The online courses are taught using a variety of methods. Dunbar said the biggest difference between online and traditional face to face classes, is the flexibility provided for students.
“In my online course, I deliver the material asynchronously to provide flexibility for working students,” she said.
Dunbar also has live interactions with her students through chat tools, like Lync, which enables her to ask them questions. Google Docs provides a chat function in the spreadsheet, so she can ask her students to illustrate a transactions live, as she watches the cells fill with numbers, she said.
“We now use Lync to interact synchronously with our MSA students. Lync allows users to share desktops, which is very useful, like when an instructor is trying to help a student with an Excel project,” Dunbar said.
While the online method of learning may work for some students, if the student is not incredibly disciplined they will not succeed, according to Dunbar. She compares the dedication required by students every day to their online courses to that of a long-distance runner.
“I think of it as a long-distance runner. If your goal is to complete the race, it just takes steady training to reach the goal. If you want to win the race, you need to be born with special muscle fibers, but if you want to enjoy the process, anyone with determination can do it,” Dunbar said.
Dunbar and her colleagues are thrilled with the No. 8 ranking, but always see room for improvement.
“We are delighted, but we recognize that we have areas in which we can improve, and we will do so,” she said.