University of Wisconsin—Madison
AAE 322: Commodity Markets: Agricultural and Applied Economics
Professor Xiaodong (Sheldon) Du’s commodity markets course is a core requirement for undergraduate agricultural and applied economics majors within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. The class teaches students how to use futures and options to manage the price volatility of agricultural commodities.
Professor Du wanted his students to gain greater understanding of how the electronic markets pool liquidity, promote price discovery and facilitate risk management. He also wanted students to understand concepts such as price volatility, spreading and hedging.
Engagement with TT
Professor Du began working with Trading Technologies in 2014. He wanted to expand the breadth of his class, providing students with the opportunity to apply textbook theories by engaging directly with live markets.
Through the TT CampusConnect® program, TT provided Professor Du’s students with access to the X_TRADER® platform and in-class training. With a grant from UW-Madison’s Educational Innovation initiative, Professor Du was able to offer students an optional ten-week training program in technical analysis using X_TRADER.
The class transitioned to Trading Technologies’ new TT® platform in 2015. The web-based software requires no installation and can be accessed through virtually any internet-connected device.
Professor Du now requires his students to use the TT platform to apply their classroom learnings to simulated trading in live CME Group markets.
By getting access to TT software in class, Professor Du’s students develop valuable skills and master the same platform used by professional commodities traders worldwide. Some students gain additional experience by participating in the CME Group Trading Challenge, an annual four-week competition that attracts approximately 500 student teams.
The experiences gained by working with the TT platform help students after graduation by equipping them with marketable employment skills. While some students plan to pursue trading-related careers before they take Professor Du’s course, others say that the experience exposes them to previously unconsidered career paths.
Explained Professor Du, “I am always looking for ways to increase the trading component, which is important for students’ understanding of the markets. It’s also important for their professional futures.”