CONTACT: GEORGE MCCRORY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0012; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Oct. 4, 2000
Business professors win President's Award for Technology Innovation
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Business professors Joyce Berg and Forrest Nelson were
awarded the 2000 University of Iowa President's Award for Technology Innovation,
which recognizes the most creative use of technology in teaching in the past
Runner-up for the award was Steve Beck, a computer consultant in the UI
Image Analysis Facility, for his work developing computer-based modeling courses
for students in a variety of disciplines.
Berg, an accounting professor, and Nelson, an economics professor in the
Henry B. Tippie College of Business, won the award for their development of
web-based computer software used to conduct electronic markets and the back
office needed to support them. That software is used by faculty at the University
of Iowa as well as faculty at many other colleges and universities across
the nation to integrate hands-on market experience into business and economics
The software developed by Berg and Nelson is used by the Tippie College
of Business's Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM), real-money futures markets where
students can trade shares based on future events, such as presidential elections,
a company's quarterly earnings, a corporation's stock price, or a movie's
box office receipts. The web site for the IEM is at http://www.biz.uiowa.edu/iem.
Students at more than 100 schools worldwide, as well as students at the
University of Iowa, have used the IEM to enhance their classroom experience.
"They are learning economics in much the same way as labs are used in
teaching other sciences. This helps overcome the abstract nature of economics
while giving students incentives to learn technical concepts," Berg said.
"By using the IEM, students move out of a traditional classroom setting
into a hands-on laboratory where they experience real market forces,"
UI President Mary Sue Coleman said the IEM project is notable for its impact
on how instructors teach and how learners learn, its broad application to
a number of subjects and across institutions, and its links between course-based
learning and workplace applications.
In recommending Berg and Nelson for the award, UI business alumnus Shane
Cropper said the project allows students to get "direct experience with
very little risk" in the way financial markets work and the skills needed
to work with them.
Because their web-based trading software allows anyone with access to the
Internet to have access to a classroom market, faculty can introduce electronic
markets into their classroom without investing in the overhead needed to support
in-house real-time electronic markets. That means students traditionally disadvantaged
in access to technology can also participate in the markets. A $459,798 grant
from the National Science Foundation will fund development of curricula intended
to promote economic literacy through use of the IEM. Some 30 four-year colleges
serving minority populations and rural community colleges across the U.S.
will join faculty at the Tippie College of Business in this development. "We
are very excited about this project. Creative use of technology is one of
the ways that we, as faculty at the University of Iowa, have a positive impact
on the world outside of Iowa City," said Berg and Nelson.
Coleman presented the award to Berg and Nelson, who will split a $3,000
cash prize, at the annual University Convocation held last night.