More and more schools are offering shorter 8-week classes in the late Spring. Students love the condensed schedule, but it can be hard to include useful experiential lessons in such a short time frame.
While the first 8-week Spring session comes to its close and the second kicks off, we wanted to highlight be best ways to get your students engaged in the real-world markets, without sacrificing your shortened class time to do it.
Step One: Choose A Project
This is usually the biggest reason Professors choose to skip the portfolio simulation with shorter sessions: it can be daunting to adapt your longer-term projects for the 8 week sessions.
The key is just to remember that the goal of the StockTrak project is not to turn students into expert investors (this always takes years of practice), but just to help get their feet wet in the investing world. In fact, we have gotten some of the best long-term student feedback from some of the shortest projects, as the shorter trading period forces students to keep a closer eye on their portfolio for any subtle change.
Even if you are pressed for time, we have you covered. These are our two favorite 8-week projects that get rave reviews from both instructors and students:
Equity Markets and Institutions
By Brian Betker
This is a short and sweet simulation for students who are completely new to investing. The goal is to help students understand the investment process by becoming an active participant. This is a 6-week project, with a short report due every 2 weeks. Students can work individually or in teams, with students required to outline specific investing goals, take notes throughout the session, and explain (via the bi-weekly reports) what went right, what went wrong, and how to adjust their strategy accordingly.
Technical Analysis Project
By Denver Travis
This is a project targeting more advanced trading strategies – encouraging students to use at least 3 technical analysis tools to choose each stock in their portfolio. Students need to write up a few sentences each time they make a trade explaining the technical backing of why it should be moving in one direction or the other. Students then need to follow up with each trade 1 week before the final exam, following up each order with how well their prediction played out in practice (with extra credit for winning portfolios). This makes the project deceptively simple – each student makes comparatively few trades, but each one requires intensive analysis both before and after the trade.
Step 2 – Set Up Your Trading Session
Once you have an idea of how to run your project, sign into your Professor account (if you do not yet have a professor login, you can sign up by clicking here) and click “Register New Class”:
When selecting your Service Level, choose “Short“. This will give your students up to 7 weeks to manage their portfolio.
If it has been a while since your last StockTrak class, you can find our Professor Tutorials by Clicking Here.
Step 3: Add An Assignment
Assignments let you “assign” tasks to your students. This includes watching our tutorial videos showing students how to use the StockTrak simulation, reading articles (such as “What is an ETF“, and “How to choose and compare stocks“), and placing trades.
If you have not used Assignments in your classes before, 8-week sessions are a perfect place to start. Just set up an assignment covering the first 2 weeks of class, requiring students to complete all of our recommended items for “Investing Basics” and “Intermediate Investing Tips”.
This will require your students to read our intro articles on the basic security types, but (more importantly) watch all of our tutorial videos to get them acquainted with managing their StockTrak portfolio – without dedicating class time for your own walk through.
If you have not used Assignments before, click here to learn more about how they work
Step 4: Students Compete And Learn!
Over 98% of students who used StockTrak last semester said that it added value to their class. Even if your students do not go into finance for their final career, the experience of managing their portfolio will stick with them for the rest of their lives. The class rankings will keep them engaged, while the experience buying and selling their first stocks will stick with them as one of the most important lessons in Personal Finance they will ever get.