Just one year ago, a portion of Anderson University's Hardacre Hall was filled with vending machines, bulky televisions, and outdated vinyl benches. Today, the renovated space known as the STAR Trading Room offers dual screen monitors, a SMART board, a ticker tape visible both inside and outside the classroom, and other new technology. The stock trading room simulates a Wall Street environment for students, providing an experiential learning opportunity.
According to Dr. Terry Truitt, dean of the Falls School of Business, the room was developed specifically with the intent to benefit students. While the plan was to invest in technology to help students learn, the room has also aided professors in modernizing their teaching styles during its first year of use.
“It’s been a great learning experience for our faculty,” said Dr. Mike Wiese, director of undergraduate studies for the Falls School of Business. Wiese cited multiple examples of faculty who have been working at the university for decades and have transitioned well by integrating the new technology into their seasoned teaching styles. In Truitt’s words, the STAR Trading Room has “enough options to satisfy any professor.”
Although the room was originally intended for use by students studying finance, the university also invested in software that would be helpful for other majors within the Falls School of Business. For instance, finance students enrolled in the investments and portfolio management class have access to stock trading tools such as a ticker tape that covers three of the room’s walls. Similarly, marketing majors have all components of Adobe Creative Suite at their fingertips.
Monica Obispado, a senior accounting major, recalled meeting in the STAR Trading Room for her federal income tax class. “It was great to have dual monitors because I could have a form on one side and directions about how to do the work on the other,” said Obispado.
The most popular piece of new technology among faculty is the room’s SMART board. Although at first glance, the board looks like a regular dry erase board, the SMART board uses electronic pens and is integrated with the trading room’s desktop computer. A professor can easily pull up a website, presentation, or document on the computer and use his or her own handwriting to make notes to the class.
Although the university has no immediate plans to renovate other rooms in Hardacre Hall in the same way the Trading Room was created, SMART boards will be installed in other classrooms in the building before the end of the academic year. “It is the first step in what we hope will be upgrades in the classroom,” said Wiese. While the Falls School of Business puts an emphasis on faculty over facilities, input from students told faculty that the technology provided in the Trading Room was also providing added value to their education.
“We hope students feel open to share their dreams, ideas, and experiences,” said Truitt. “After all, the facility is theirs.”
— Courtney Hoyle is a senior from Munster, Ind., majoring in marketing and minoring in public relations. Hoyle is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.