Post a composite review
Unpost a composite review
Search all MERLOT
Select to go to your profile
Select to go to your workspace
Select to go to your Dashboard Report
Select to go to your Content Builder
Select to log out
Search Terms
Enter username
Enter password
Please give at least one keyword of at least three characters for the search to work with. The more keywords you give, the better the search will work for you.
Select OK to launch help window
Cancel help


Advanced Search


Peer Review

Cost or Expense?

by Isabel Gómez


Overall Numeric Rating:

3.75 stars
Content Quality: 3.5 stars
Effectiveness: 3.25 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Jul 21, 2013 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: This module is an interactive technical note with the overriding objective of clarifying the concepts of costs and expenses as used by a company. The documentation is based on a decision-making diagram which attempts to structure the classification process. An exercise section allows students to test their knowledge by classifying cost or expense items for different types of companies. The material also includes a game where the student competes against the clock.
Type of Material: Tutorial with drill and practice.
Recommended Uses: This module can be used as a brief introduction to the concept of cost vs. expense or for a review of the concepts outside of class. It would be appropriate for students in undergraduate or MBA introductory managerial or cost accounting courses.
Technical Requirements: No special requirements necessary but the page should be displayed in full screen mode (F11).
Identify Major Learning Goals: The major learning objective is to correctly classify specific purchases for a given company as either a product cost or an expense.
Target Student Population: Introductory managerial accounting course at the undergraduate college level or MBA students who are taking an introductory MBA level accounting class.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3.5 stars
  • This combination tutorial with drill and practice activities has three distinct areas: (1) a decision tree explaining how to classify items as cost or expense, (2) exercises where student can practice their classification skills, and (3) a challenge where students are competing against the clock to correctly answer questions.
  • The challenge has three levels and advancement to the next level can only occur by beating the clock and answering a certain number of questions correctly. The process can be repeated until successful advancement through all three levels is achieved.
  • The module is easy to understand and follow. It is useful for an introduction ovreview of the concepts.
  • Use does not require much time but allows the students to repeat the material until they achieve a desired level of knowledge. Requires no prior knowledge.
  • The interactive nature and human images create interest that a static approach could not create.
  • Concerns:
  • The module is not very flexible and has a limited number of examples/questions.
  • Some instructor provided context may be required. Not everyone may agree with the cost and expense classifications for everything in the demo. If resource uses are going to be classified in this manner, an explanation is required as to why some of the items fit into a cost classification instead of an expense classification. Some instructors might feel most of the cost classifications could be included in the expense classification, especially when no product is being produced. For example, the components of a computer needs to be clarified as to whether the equipment is an office computer or a computer used in production.

  • Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

    Rating: 3.25 stars
  • Can be completed in less than 30 minutes if the user understands the concepts in the decision tree. More time is required if the user cannot beat the clock.
  • The module allows for repeated practice of the concept.
  • Concerns:
  • The number of questions for the drill and practice is limited to five for each scenario and each one has only two response choices. After the first attempt the students could proceed with correct answers and not truly understand the material.
  • The module contains a sufficient amount of material for an introduction of the concepts, but the depth of the material is limited to a few classification questions. More explanations about cost and expense definitions is needed.

  • Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

    Rating: 4.5 stars
  • The module is easy to follow and use. All of the necessary material is on one page, allowing the user to move logically through the model.
  • The layout is clearn and very professionally designed.
  • The module is higly interactive and visually appealing with nice graphics and clear links. In the game, color has been used to indicate a correct response (green) and an incorrect response (red).
  • Nice use of pop-up window to show relationship to the location in the Income Statement
  • Concerns:
  • Content is limited in terms of depth of the material included.
  • More explicit explanations for the definition of cost and expense is needed.
  • The back button cannot be used to review a previous explanation. One has to use the browser histor tab and click on Cost or Expense.

  • Other Issues and Comments: Short tutorial for use in explaining the difference between product cost and expense. Can be very useful as an introduction to or review of the basic concepts.