School of Accounting’s ACE tutoring program
uses Skype to offer lessons to distance students
The School of Accounting at Oklahoma State University is piloting a project to offer tutoring via Skype through the Accounting Collaborative for Academic Excellence (ACE) program.
In its third semester, ACE provides tutoring and support to all students enrolled in accounting classes in the Spears School of Business. ACE offers students a place to study, get direct help, and discuss work with others. And because ACE is staffed by some of the top students in the accounting program, they’re able to provide assistance with coursework as well as advice about course sequencing.
Skype is an application that provides video chat and voice call services online.
“Angela Spencer has done an exceptional job getting this initiative up and going,” said Robert Cornell, head of the School of Accounting in the Spears School. “This additional (Skype) option will be transformational to our program.”
Initially, ACE was to provide tutoring assistance for the financial accounting course sequence but was expanded to support all accounting courses. ACE has also organized a series of small group lunches with diverse professionals to support students’ development inside and outside the classroom.
“The goal of ACE is to support all students in the accounting program, from those that are struggling and need extensive help to those that are excelling and only have a question or two as they prepare for class,” said Angela Spencer, ACE director and assistant professor in the School of Accounting.
“ACE is my home away from home,” said Elise Heigle, who is pursuing a master’s in accounting. “Whether you are looking for help with homework or just need another accounting major to relate to, there is always a classmate in ACE Who has gone through the challenges you are currently facing in your academic career. The ACE community has truly given me the most rewarding friendships and been the greatest opportunity of my Cowboy career.”
Spencer would like to see growth in both the in-person and Skype programs to meet tutoring demands. “With many students located outside of OSU campus, we’d like to structure a program that’s more conducive to helping all of our students, even those not in Stillwater,” she said.
ACE draws tutors from three groups. One, hourly tutors that are funded in part by ConocoPhillips and Phillips66 funds; two, mainline graduate assistants who also have grading and other responsibilities for professors, and three, Beta Alpha Psi volunteers.
“ACE has been a fantastic opportunity for me, both as a student and as a tutor,” said Nathan Squires, who is simultaneously pursuing a bachelor’s and master’s in accounting. “Going through Intermediate Accounting my junior year was difficult, but fortunately ACE provided a unique way to study as well as gain a great understanding of the material. As a tutor, working with other students not only helps them to do well, but it also helps me further my accounting knowledge.”
At ACE’s inception, ConocoPhillips and Phillips66 funds were used to pay tutors. Now that nearly all graduate assistants work at least a few hours each week in ACE, ConocoPhillips and Phillips66 partially fund hourly workers and special events, said Spencer.
“I am incredibly proud to be a part of ACE,” said Spencer. “I believe supporting our students throughout all of their accounting coursework is consistent with the land-grant mission of OSU. While I think the students seeking help likely benefit most, our workers also realize significant benefits.”
Spencer says that working in ACE requires tutors to review material they may not have seen in some time. By being forced to explain the topics to other students, they are able to deepen their own understanding. And the camaraderie between all of the students is something they all enjoy.