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College of Business team honored for lowering costs to students

Digital resource saved students more than $200,000

Ohio University Professor of Management Information Systems Raymond Frost and three of his former students in the College of Business were recently honored for saving students thousands of dollars annually.

Frost's team was one 10 winners of the University System of Ohio's 2011 Ohio Faculty Innovator Award. The award annually recognizes USO faculty or faculty teams that found creative ways to reduce the cost of course materials for their students while also improving educational content. 

The team developed a digital resource for the course titled, "Introduction to Management Information Systems."

The open educational resource is an innovative and highly visual pedagogy that shortens the time to learn concepts. The students plan, build and develop proposals for iPhone applications and a website to market the applications. Students simulate market operation by purchasing each other's applications and investing in each other's companies online. They also forecast and analyze sales and consumer behaviors.

The digital resource eliminated the need for the approximately 1,700 students who take the class each year to purchase the $121 textbook typically used in the class. The savings are estimated to be about $205,000.

Frost said his team is honored to receive this innovator award.

"This award speaks volumes about the creative potential of the Ohio University student," Frost said. "Three of my current and former students helped to design the course. They are all co-authors on the textbook that we wrote together. Jacqueline Pike and Lauren Kenyo are now college professors and Sarah Pels is a published author as a junior in college."

Frost said the course challenges students to be creative and entrepreneurial as they design and market an iPhone app while learning business skills.
"We worked very hard to develop an innovative pedagogy for the course," Frost said.

He said the idea was born from a University Professor course that he taught eight years ago on the design and presentation of information. He said the course has continuously been revised since then, but still preserves the core theme, as described by Edward Tufte, that the quality, relevance, and integrity of your content matters.

"As further benefit in these tough economic times, we were able to work with FlatWorld Knowledge to offer a free version of the text online," Frost said.

Ohio University Chancellor Eric Fingerhut shared his thoughts on the awards.

"Ohio's economic competitiveness is built on the strength of its higher education system and keeping access to that system within reach of Ohio families," Fingerhut said. "The faculty we honor today have, with their dedication and hard work, helped make it easier for students to succeed in ways that will make them, and Ohio, more successful in today's knowledge economy."