Faculty Innovator Grant 2011 Center for Learning Technologies. Final Report Form

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1 Faculty Innovator Grant 2011 Final Report Form Primary Faculty Name: Hongwei Zhu Department: Information Technology and Decision Sciences Address: Office Phone Number: Project Title: (10 words or less) Teaching Programming with Mobile Financial Literacy Games and Applications Other faculty: Faculty Name: Department Address Office Phone Number Yuzhong Shen Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization Faculty Innovator Grant 2011: Final Report Page 1 of 3 Old Dominion University

2 Faculty Innovator Grant 2011 Final Report Form 1. Describe the specific teaching and learning issues being addressed by the proposal. Students have lots of debts and need to know personal finance. Teaching materials do not use coherent examples on financial issues faced by students. 2. Describe the revised specific teaching and learning issues being addressed by the proposal (if applicable): See report. 3. Describe the development activities involved addressing the learning or teaching issue. See report. 4. Describe the learning outcomes attained by the project. See report. 5. Describe unexpected outcomes, if any. See report. 6. Describe the impact of the completed project on your colleagues, department, college, or community. It is still at an early stage to see impact beyond the courses. 7. Describe how the project can be a model, template, or prototype for use by other instructors. Once the teaching materials are organized (e.g., as a book manuscript), they can be adapted by colleagues as a model. 8. Describe the technology used to help address the issues described in the proposal. We mainly teach students how to program and develop education games. 9. Describe products, if any, that are a result of the project. We are adding features to the game to make it useful for Personal Finance course. 10. Describe the future plans for this project, if any. Enrich the game and systematically organize all teaching materials. Faculty Innovator Grant 2011: Final Report Page 2 of 3 Old Dominion University

3 Faculty Innovator Grant 2011 Final Report Form 11. Attach a financial report with updated Budget Plan Matrix. No adjustment. Budget Item (equipment, personnel, software, etc.) Final Budget Matrix Qty Total Cost Amount from FIG Source of Funds Amount from Other Source Faculty Innovator Grant 2011: Final Report Page 3 of 3 Old Dominion University

4 Teaching Programming with Mobile Financial Literacy Games and Applications Project Report Hongwei Zhu and Yuzhong Shen {hzhu, Student debts have reached $1 trillion in the U.S. Many students lack the financial literacy to make sound financial decisions and effectively manage their debts. This project aims to address this issue by incorporating personal finance into several computing courses. To engage students in learning, the project also includes mobile application and game development in selected courses. 1. Course Material Development We developed lectures, homework assignments, and projects for students taking IT430 (OOP with Java) and MSIM 608 (Introduction to Game Development) to learn programming, game and mobile app development, and personal finance in an integrated fashion. Table 1 provides an example of financial literacy-oriented assignments developed for IT430. Table 1. Assignments involving financial literacy topics, IT430 Assignment Financial Literacy Topic Quiz 1 Estimating annual expenses while attending ODU; Current Tuition Understanding debt situation Understanding student loans Finding out current discussions about student debts in the media Homework 1 Writing a program to calculate and present annual expenses by category Quiz 2 Understanding current tuition rates in various colleges Calculating tuition in next twenty years using an annual rate randomly picked within a range Homework 2 Understanding compound interest (Savings class) Homework 3 Implementing expense estimating using OOP Homework 4 Integrating Savings and expense classes to conduct scenario analysis Homework 5 Paying off debt (GUI) Project Implementing personal finance related mobile applications Both quizzes are take-home. The difference between a quiz and a homework assignment is that a quiz generally requires less programming effort than a homework assignment. MSIM 608 Introduction to Game Development is an exciting introductory course focused on game development theory and practices using Microsoft XNA Game Studio with emphasis on educational game development. Topics covered in this course include game architecture, computer graphics theory, user interaction, audio, high level shading language, animation, physics, and artificial intelligence. Students develop games related to science (e.g., physics, chemistry, and biology), technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. The developed games can run on a variety of platforms, including personal computers, smartphones, and game consoles.

5 In Spring 2012, students in MSIM 608 were asked to design some components of a serious game, named My Life, for college students to learn personal finance and thus facilitate development of good personal finance management capabilities. The game My Life is an eventbased serious game. That is, the player must handle events that are similar to the ones in the real life, such as credit card payment, tuition payment, and part-time jobs. A preliminary prototype of the game was provided as the start code. Figure 1 Game My Life. The screen on the right displays the events that are happening today (credit card payment due, car repair, and cell phone payment due). The player should handle the events by pressing the icons representing the events. Shown on the right side of the screen are 4 icons that will display new screens, which are current financial status (i.e., bank balance, credit card balance, etc.), future events, financial literacy, and quiz (from top to bottom). For the defined learning objectives (i.e., personal finance in this game), students need to decide and design the game mechanics (events, event handling, and scoring) and associate graphical representations (2D or 3D). Students must utilize object-oriented design and programming for game development and be able to manage complex game screens and scenarios. In addition, students must balance the complexity and effectiveness of graphics designs. 2. Example Projects All students in IT430 are required to develop applications (preferably mobile applications on Android platform) for their term projects. Students have enjoyed this opportunity of using their creativity to develop something potentially useful to them. Below we provide several examples of student projects. 2.1 Spring Break App The application helps students keep track of their savings towards a Spring Break trip. See the motivation and screenshots of this application in Figure 2.

6 Figure 2. Spring Break Application 2.2 Expense Estimator Figure 3 shows a screenshot of an annual expense estimator.

7 Figure 3. Expense Estimator 2.3 Student Loan News Feeds Reader This application allows the user to monitor news feeds about student loans. The user can tap (click on) any entry to read the news on a mobile device. Figure 4 shows a screenshot of the application. Figure 4. Student Loan News Feeds Reader

8 3. Impacts We conducted surveys to understand the effectiveness of the approach. The results show that most of the students think that developing personal finance applications/modules/games in their courses have improved their learning effectiveness. A review of feedback in questionnaire identifies a variety of factors that explain the results: Applicability (e.g. it applies to something useful in everyday life, it gave me more than theories it gave me goal that I could see, It allowed me to use what I ve learned to actually put into the real world, using mathematical equations that relate to interest rates and things of that matter are very engaging and allow one to better understand the relationship between finance and mathematics and accuracy of the mathematics to provide error free accounting ) Scope (e.g. it has a wider learning range, I will increase my knowledge of finance Effectiveness (e.g. it applies a realistic aspect to the programs created that don t make it feel like completely wasted time ) Clarity (e.g. my knowledge of personal finance made it easier to understand how the programs, it has helped tremendously with making Java easier to understand and use, they worked and I knew what I was looking for when performing trial and error. This allowed me to know when something was wrong ) Awareness (e.g. everyone wants to know how to make better financial decisions, they made me more aware and knowledgeable of financial calculation formulas ) 4. Conclusion Through the support of the Faculty Innovation Grant, we have developed a novel teaching approach and new instructional materials that combine personal finance with computer programming and game development. The evaluation shows that the approach is effective in motivating students and helping them learn. Future work will extend the game implementation and further enhance teaching materials so that they can be easily adapted by other colleagues who are interested in the approach.

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