PublicationsBusiness Education Forum

 

Business Education Forum Highlights
February 2005, Volume 59, Number 3

FORUM FEATURE
No Plain, No Gain: The Importance of Plain Language - "The lack of clear writing is a big issue right now—big for government, big for business, and big for the legal and health professions. Poor writing creates unhappy customers, and costs organizations time, money, and sometimes lawsuits. For example, until 1973, when Citibank revised the writing in its promissory notes, the company had spent a lot of time in small claims court trying to collect on them. It had also spent a lot of time training customer support staff to answer consumer questions about its forms and contracts (Mazur, 2002). Poor writing also costs lives (see "Business Spotlight" article on CLAD, p. 16). Good clear writing, on the other hand, does none of these things. And businesses are hungry for employees with good writing skills—businesses spend billions annually on correcting writing deficiencies (College Board, 2004)."

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT
Plain Language Consultants Clarify Information the Public Wants--and Needs--to Know - "When technical writer Bill DuBay was teaching software engineers how to write for multiple audiences, he told them to write so that a teenager could understand their writing. He didn’t want the engineers to "dumb down" the information but to "smarten up" the way the content was communicated. "You’re talking to engineers who might be less experienced [than you are]," he said. He taught them how a document could address readers of different skill levels, starting with the easy stuff, going to the more technical descriptions, and using appendices for the more complicated information."

 

CURRICULUM FORUM

Accounting
Demonstrating Cost Behavior in Accounting Courses: Revisiting a Class Activity to Illustrate an Open-Ended Product Costing Case - "Business students in every major must possess an understanding of fundamental costing concepts. This is true regardless of whether the student intends to work for a large or small firm, a manufacturer, a service company, or a merchandiser. To meet this need, undergraduate business programs generally require that all majors complete a managerial accounting course, a major topic of which is product costing. Mastery of product costing concepts entails understanding the difference between product and period costs, the identification and classification of product costs, and the behavior of costs. Advanced topics such as Activity-Based-Costing (ABC) build upon these concepts."

Basic Business
Ethical Reasoning for the High School Business Classroom - "Never in recent history has the call for ethics education in schools been more pronounced than in the months and years following the recent scandals in the business world. Even before young people enter the workforce they might encounter a variety of ethical problems that require tough decisions. However, according to Richard T. De George, author and respected teacher of business ethics, "Most students do not know how to analyze a moral issue systematically and do not have the vocabulary to articulate what they feel. Moral theory helps provide this" (2004, p. 14). This article attempts to construct a practical framework for ethical decision making that high school business educators can use with their students to assess ethical problems and dilemmas and to reach fair and defensible decisions. The framework can be used for decision making of all kinds. The hope is that students can gain confidence in their moral evaluations and decisions and not simply attempt to make moral decisions based on what they "feel is right."

Communication
Success in the Online Classroom: Communicating to Increase Intrinsic Motivation - "Research on distance education (Arbaugh, 2001; Carr-Chellman, 2000; Cooper, 2000; DeSanctis & Sheppard, 1999) tells us that the keys to effective online versus traditional classes includes the development of new teaching methods, frequent and timely interaction through e-mail, weekly discussion boards, the use of collaborative student groups, and an appreciation for students with multiple backgrounds and experiences. Further, some literature suggests that student profiling can be an indicator of success in online courses (Hansen, 2003; Schuemer, 1993; Wang & Newlin, 2002), while other research suggests that demographic variables are not directly related to performance outcomes in online classrooms (Brown, 2001; Wallace, Juban, & Walker, 2004; Wegerif, 1998)."

Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurial Attitudes and Online Learning Success: Exploring the Connection - "One characteristic of successful entrepreneurs is perseverance in pursuit of their goals. In contrast, online learners have a low perseverance rate, given the relatively high dropout rate in online courses. (One study found that dropout rates exceeded 40% (Carter, 1996)). Institutions need to identify students likely to drop out of online courses and take preventive measures (Parker, 1999). Can the shared characteristics of entrepreneurs and online learners can be a basis for predicting and/or addressing the online class dropout rate?"

Methods
Business Education Methods: A Capstone Course Project - "The intent of the methods course is to bring together and apply content and pedagogy from previous classes and life experiences. The methods course develops the student’s ability to perform long-range curriculum planning, design daily lessons, write and assess objectives, plan activities, create tests, and develop rubrics. In addition, students are required to include National Standards for Business Education (2001) and Illinois Learning Standards (1997) that are applicable. Other requirements include summarizing articles from prominent business education journals, evaluating textbooks, microteaching, and making group presentations to the class."

Technology
Using Service Learning Activities in Technology Classes - "Service learning is a student activity in which students serve a nonprofit agency while receiving their own academic instruction (Tucker & McCarthy, 2001). It is learning that embodies a teaching philosophy and an instructional method. As a teaching philosophy, service activities help a school prepare students to be responsible citizens in a democratic society (Woods, 2002). As a teaching method, service learning combines service to the community with curriculum-based learning. Unlike ordinary volunteerism, service learning involves an activity that not only meets a community need, but also has an explicit learning component. One distinct goal of service learning is to develop students’ civic values and responsibilities toward society—to foster a spirit of contribution. Service learning is also different from cooperative education and internship programs (Hergert, 2002). Students in cooperative education and internships work in for-profit businesses; students in service learning assist only nonprofit organizations. By helping nonprofit organizations, students are more likely to value the goals and activities of those organizations, a significant difference between cooperative education and service learning."