Student perceptions of the impact of web-based homework on course interaction and learning in introductory accounting

According to Laurillard's Conversational Framework, teaching and learning are a dialogic activity in which the student attempts to re-construct the teacher's mental model of the material. An essential part of that dialog between teacher and student is the feedback teachers provide to help students adapt their understanding of the concepts presented. Providing this individualized feedback is time consuming and often beyond the resources available to faculty. To address the need for a more efficient and effective approach to offering feedback, textbook publishers, commercial vendors, and the open source community have developed web-based homework (WBH) systems that provide automated grading. This paper examines the use of a commercial web application (WileyPLUS) to automate grading of multi-part accounting exercises and problems in an introductory accounting course for business majors. A survey research methodology was used. Results indicate that web-based homework systems enhance learning but do not increase perceived course interaction levels. Immediate feedback and allowing for multiple attempts encourages practice with the material. Students are mixed on whether restructuring textbook problems to operationalize online grading adequately prepares them for exams.