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Business Informatics

Teaching Innovation Award: Playfully Learning Programming with "VBA Garden“

© Lehrstuhl Wirt­schafts­in­for­matik​/​TU Dortmund

The Chair of Business Informatics has developed the game "VBA Garden" for business and economics students.

In the course of the ongoing digitization of industry, the economy and society, programming skills are increasingly in demand in addition to basic IT skills. Programming is also referred to as "the competence of the digital future" (Zeit Online). For this reason, it is particularly important for students in non-IT focused degree programmes to gain programming experience during their studies in order to meet the requirements of the increasingly digitalized job market. Own experiences in programming promote the technical understanding of students for current and upcoming challenges and solutions in the IT world.

For this purpose, the TU Dortmund University offers the elective course "Information Management", for which the Chair of Business Informatics of Prof. Dr. Richard Lackes is responsible. In the lecture held by Dr. Alper Beşer, students learn how to use the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) programming language developed by Microsoft. The teaching experience of many years shows that especially students without previous programming-related experience, have difficulties in writing efficient programming code. Therefore, the chair has developed the programming game "VBA Garden" to promote the programming understanding of students in a playful way. For this purpose, the functionality of VBA programming code is presented visually via animations. Using drag & drop, students can assemble programming code for a given task (e.g. planting a flower in every second field of a virtual garden) and examine the effects of the code via animations. To reveal errors in the programming code, the animations can be varied in speed. In this way, students can understand at which point the assembled programming code behaves incorrectly. The game starts with easy programming tasks, but also helps students with visualization of complex programming code in later levels.

The game was developed over several semesters and used for the first time in the winter semester 2021/22 with great success in the course "Information Management". It was awarded the Teaching Innovation Award 2021/2022 by the student representatives of the Committee for Improving the Quality of Teaching.

VBA Garden is publicly available and can be tried out without registration at The Chair of Business Informatics would like to thank the student assistants Mr. Gabriel Löhner-Raak for the development/programming of the game as well as Ms. Lea Demming and Ms. Lisa Schned for the conception of challenging level packages.  

If you have any questions about the game and its use, please contact Dr. Alper Beşer.


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Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.


TU Dort­mund University has its own train station ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S".

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.


The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.


The departments of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

Streetnavigation from and to TU Dortmund University:

OpenStreetMap Routing Machine

The document and the graphic represent the motorways and federal highways around the TU Dortmund University in a very simplified way:

Environment map (PDF)

Environment map (graphic)

This interactive map helps you find and navigate between facilities and buildings on campus:

Interactive campus map

This document contains a simple campus map in German and English:

Campus map (PDF)