Department of Education FIPSE Project

In 1998, the Iowa Electronic Markets received a $443,000 grant from the Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE). Through the grant the University of Iowa College of Business designed the Iowa Electronic Markets Inter-Disciplinary Educational Alliance (IEM*IDEA). This project was designed to enhance the business and economic literacy and political awareness of students at minority colleges, 4-year teaching colleges and community colleges across the US.

To date the IEM has worked in partnership with 87 Professors at 38 institutions across the US. Through this initiative over 4,500 hundred students registered for IEM accounts at colleges partnering with the IEMl. This access to the Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM) as a learning and research tool was an effective way to give students a hands-on and interactive setting to learn about technology, economics and business concepts, which in turn promoted literacy in these areas. To that end, the grant funded the $5.00 trading accounts for students at partner institutions. Through this experience these students were encouraged to pursue graduate degrees in Economics, Accounting, Finance and related disciplines.

Since the project started in 1998, 87 faculty from these schools have attended IEM*IDEA sponsored conferences where they learned the history of the IEM, how to use the IEM, and how to integrate it into the classroom as a teaching and research tool with undergraduate students.

National Science Foundation

In this project previously funded by the NSF, faculty from the University of Iowa, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hipanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and rural community colleges developed, tested, and implemented curricular materials to support using the Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM) in a range of economics and business courses. The IEM developed complete, internet-accessible instructional materials, which were adaptable to a wide range of learning approaches including distance and web-based education. Thus allowing active learning in much the same way laboratories facilitate learning in other sciences. This project was designed to overcome the abstract nature of economics while giving students incentives to learn technical concepts. During this project, over 60 faculty from more than 30 HBCUs, HSIs and rural community colleges learned to use the IEM with their specific student populations and learning environments. Materials introduced students to the Internet (through IEM trading) and encourage students to use it as an information source to make more informed economic decisions. This project placed a strong emphasis on the integration of technology into the classroom.

NASDAQ Stock Market Educational Foundation

The Nasdaq Foundation has previously supported two IEM outreach initiatives. One conducted on-site training at six selected (HBCUs), (HSIs) and/or rural community colleges. The other supported the IEM*IDEA Nasdaq Securities Markets Conference which was held on the University of Iowa campus April 12-14, 2002.

The on-site workshops included: two half-day sessions, one for faculty and one for graduate students. During these sessions students were introduced to the IEM and discussed its possible classroom uses. The workshops also meet directly with students to give them hands-on training in our markets within the context of their courses, through their student organizations (e.g. the local chapter of a financial management organization), and by means of general information sessions. The workshops partnered with Nasdaq personnel to conduct a panel to give a general overview of current events in business and security markets. Additionally it conducted a demonstration of the Nasdaq Head Trader software, which students and faculty found of interest as an alternative active learning environment. Overall, we believe this approach helped to institutionalize the use of the IEM and enhanced student's ability to use technology to conduct research and be involved in a self-directed, hands-on learning experience.

The IEM*IDEA NASDAQ Securities Markets Conference brought students and their faculty mentors from our partner institutions together with the IEM directors and conference presenters April 12-14, 2002. Faculty invited from these schools included both those who had previous experience with the IEM and who have expressed an interest in learning more about the IEM. Each was be invited to bring one student from their institutions with them.

This conference let us fulfill a number of objectives. First, faculty attendees with IEM experience demonstrated to other, less experienced attendees various ways in which they used the IEM in their classes. Second, the participants discussed and identified "best practices" of integrating the IEM into instruction. Third, we brought in members of the practitioner and scholarly community to discuss "current issues in financial markets" with this audience. We included topics in financial markets literature and chose topics that participants could relate to through their experience trading in the IEM. Finally, we included a special session targeted at student attendees that increased their knowledge about possible paths leading to careers in the financial sector as well as graduate school opportunities in finance.

These two projects increased the use of the IEM in the classroom. We believe the IEM is beneficial in helping students gain an advanced understanding of topics concerning Securities Markets and other business topics.

Microsoft Corporation

The Microsoft Corporation supported the IEM through a generous donation of personal computing software, including Microsoft Windows 2000, Office 2000 and Window Millennium Edition (ME). We distributed this software to the institutions which were our partners on the above projects to support their use of the IEM and other innovative technology in teaching. This donation was a vital link for helping students become prepared for the employment market by having positive and skill building experiences with computers and technology. Many schools in higher education do not always have the resources available to purchase the latest technology and this gift from the Microsoft Corporation provided them the ability to use the resources they have more efficiently while still giving their student and faculty access to the most current technology tools.