When students begin work or head to college, many get their first taste of economic independence. To give them the skills they need, OppLoans, a Chicago-based financial firm, launched a new financial education site called OppU.
OppU provides free interactive lessons that teach the fundamentals of money management. The classroom-friendly courses are aligned to national standards for financial literacy and cover topics such as spending, saving, credit, and debt.
OppU is free to use and available to the public.
“It can be difficult for schools to teach money management because they’re already under a lot of pressure to teach many different subjects,” said Ann Logue, an author and lecturer on finance at the University of Illinois, who contributed to the curriculum. “OppU provides an easy-to-use and free way to incorporate financial literacy into student learning inside or outside of the classroom.”
Built on Moodle, a digital education platform, the courses consist of short interactive videos that can be accessed through the OppU website. During the videos, OppU instructors present the lessons and students are asked to answer questions about the material. Students must click on the correct answers in order to complete the lesson. Each topic ends with a cumulative quiz.
“Some basic financial knowledge can prevent a lifetime of financial woes,” said Beth Tallman, a former financial literacy college instructor and high school math educator who also helped author the curriculum. “OppU delivers that information in an upbeat, engaging way, in distinct and digestible chunks that people of all ages will find helpful.”
As an educational tool for teachers, the OppU lessons can be shown in the classroom or assigned to students to complete at home. Instructors can confirm student progress through a completion tracking feature that awards credit when videos are watched and quizzes passed. OppU is optimized for display on mobile devices, so learners can complete the courses on their phones or tablets.
A lender that serves the underbanked, OppLoans created OppU as part of its mission to promote financial empowerment.
“We see the consequences of bad credit on a daily basis,” said Jared Kaplan, CEO of OppLoans. “We wanted to build something that delivers the knowledge and skills that people need to start, and stay, on the right path.”
In 2016, the financial services NGO FINRA found that nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic test of financial literacy. A survey of K-12 educators discovered that 92 percent of them believe financial education should be taught in schools, but only 12 percent actually do. OppU aims to fill this gap by offering engaging, practical lessons that can be used inside or outside of the classroom to help students and adults of all ages learn to better manage their money.
Click here to visit OppU.
Material from a press release was used in this report.