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technology DU Launches Freshman App Course THE UNIVERSITY OF DENVER'S Daniels College of Business in Colorado has introduced "Gateway to Business," a course that requires students to develop a mobile app, build a prototype, and compete for fund- ing—all in their freshman year. "Students don't have to wait until their third or fourth year in a business program before they're ready to become successful entrepreneurs," says Stephen Haag, an associate professor-in-residence in business information and analytics who taught the spring pilot of the course. At the beginning of the course, the students are taught to use an app-development tool so they don't need to know programming to design a prototype. Next, they form teams of three to five students each, and together they learn to apply business fundamen- tals, write plans, conduct market research, and com- plete cost and competitor analyses. At the end of the course, the best ideas are presented to a panel of angel investors who will choose which ideas to fund. During the pilot offering last spring, ideas that went before investors included a music-sharing app that makes it possible for up to ten people to listen to the same song simultaneously on their personal devices, and a gaming app that allows users to play Monopoly and other board games on their iPads and iPhones. Although students must sign nondisclosure agreements regarding their ideas, they retain all intellectual rights to their inventions and will keep any proceeds they earn. This year, "Gateway to Business" is required of all freshmen majoring or minoring in business—about 500 students in all. Haag, one of several instructors deliver- ing 20 sections of the course, expects that student teams will generate 125 ideas for new apps. Instructors and several executives will screen those projects down to the ten best, which will be presented to potential investors. Some of the students who took Haag's pilot course also were asked to work on a special project for the school—designing an app for the first presidential debate to be held at DU on October 3. The smartphone tool will provide campus maps and information to the more than 3,000 journalists expected to cover the event. The app course isn't just about the technology, explains Daniel Connolly, interim chair of the department 62 September/October 2012 BizEd Students helped design a campus app for the first presidential debate to be held at DU on October 3. of business information and analytics. It also introduces ethical and social issues that traditionally aren't presented to business students until much later in their educations. If students decide to design a gaming or productivity app, for instance, they are asked to consider whether the game could address a social need or how the productivity tool might improve someone's quality of life. "We want students to focus on the triple bottom line—on making money with a purpose. We want them to think about the kind of business professionals they want to be," he says. "Making money is great, but only if they do so responsibly." The course also excites students about future courses in finance, strategy, accounting, and teamwork, says Haag. "They know what they have to learn to build suc- cessful organizations," he adds. "They walk into their other classes hungry for the rest of their educations."

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