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Professor’s E-Learning Game Allows Students to Become Fraud Detectives

Red Flag Mania will be Featured in Oct. 2 DePaul Workshop for Financial Managers

A DePaul business professor’s e-learning game is teaching students how to detect fraud by immersing them in a simulated “whodunit.”

Associate Professor Kelly Richmond Pope created Red Flag Mania, an innovative game-based e-learning platform, to advance student learning in forensic and investigative accounting. It provides an immersive investigative experience that combines film, business theory and detective mystery fun to engage learners to use data to solve complex problems. Pope, who teaches in the School of Accountancy & MIS at DePaul’s Driehaus College of Business, was awarded a DePaul Academic Innovation Grant to support its development.

“It is challenging to create an immersive experience using a textbook, so Red Flag Mania uses aspects of game design and documentary filmmaking blended with accounting and business theory to offer an innovative learning experience,” Pope says. She says participants typically describe the experience as a cross between the board game Clue, the television series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and popular escape rooms. Season one of Red Flag Mania, titled “When We Prey,” explores the financial struggles of the fictional Montague Fellowship Church.

Red Flag Mania contains four episodes (“Ethics Dash,” “Audit Challenge,” “Money Hunt” and “Fraud Capstone”), ranging from two to eight hours of immersive learning. Each episode allows participants to gain hands-on experience undergoing processes that are undertaken by real-world financial investigators.

Associate Professor of Accountancy Kelly Pope

Using ripped-from-the-headlines stories, learners begin their investigative journey by watching a short documentary before engaging in activities that include sorting through case evidence, reviewing suspect cards and websites, and listening to voicemails, all in an effort to solve the case. Incorporating game mechanics with storytelling allows learners to assess professional skepticism, analyze potential fraud, test internal controls, interpret judgement biases in decision-making and more, Pope says.

Used in Pope’s DePaul classes and by other universities, Red Flag Mania creates a unique e-learning experience for students, prompting them to go deeper and challenge their critical thinking. “My primary motivation for creating Red Flag Mania was to develop a disruptive edtech product that could cover the traditional topics discussed in most U.S. classrooms and enhance student engagement.”

Red Flag Mania will be featured in an Oct. 2 “Fraud and Ethics in Everyday Organizations” virtual continuing education workshop for managers in accounting, finance, compliance, law and human resources. For more information about this DePaul Continuing and Professional Education workshop, go to: