Accounting students now have access to the same kind of artificial intelligence-based tutoring software that math and chemistry students have had for years–and science teachers-in-training soon could benefit from the technology as well.
Quantum Tutors, which was created in 1998 to help high school and college students with chemistry, now offers help for students in college-level accounting as well as math. The company recently partnered with McGraw-Hill Higher Education to offer Quantum Tutors for the Accounting Cycle. The software covers topics such as transaction analysis, adjusting entries, and financial statement preparation and is correlated with McGraw-Hill textbooks.
“McGraw-Hill is the first and only higher-education solutions provider to offer this level of personalized tutoring with our accounting textbooks,” said Kevin Kaine, president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education’s Business and Economics Group.
Quantum Tutors provides instant, step-by-step feedback based on the student’s work, including specific reasoning explaining why the student’s answer is right or wrong, said Benny Johnson, Quantum’s president and chief executive officer. Johnson is also the developer of the company’s artificial-intelligence technology.
Ron Lazer, assistant professor of accounting at the University of Houston, said the software covers a wide range of questions that students might ask.
“The [program] allows students to ask questions and practice at their own pace at home, but with an interaction that is similar to class work and questions,” he said. It answers students’ queries and provides one-on-one tutoring tailored to each student’s level of understanding.
In September, Quantum received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop an artificial intelligence-based simulation program for students learning to become science teachers, delivered in real time over the internet.
The software will be “useful for a new teacher or a teacher who is teaching outside of [his or her] field,” Johnson said. “We are developing a classroom simulator so the instructor inputs problems and the [virtual] students answer in different ways.”
The software provides the same pedagogical knowledge that teachers would receive from a master teacher, Johnson said, but it’s delivered completely through the internet.
In a virtual Quantum classroom, student avatars raise their hands to ask questions about the teacher’s chosen topic and problem. The AI programming simulates students at varying levels of comprehension and knowledge. Clicking or “calling” on these virtual students allows them to ask their question, and in a simulated live classroom environment, teachers can read and hear each student’s question and respond in kind. The system thus allows teachers-in-training to practice how to handle a wide range of questions related to the problem they’ve entered into the system, according to a Quantum press release.
At any time during their training session, teachers can ask a “virtual mentor” questions about key science concepts, specific steps in a problem, or proven teaching techniques that improve student performance and conceptual understanding.
Johnson said he hopes to have Quantum Mentors available for teachers to use in the next few years.
For now, Quantum Tutors is available to high schools and colleges for providing help in math, chemistry, and accounting.
Quantum Tutors for the Accounting Cycle