This paper presents our experience using the popular game FarmVille by Zynga® to teach the fundamentals of linear programming and integer programming concepts to undergraduate students in an introductory operations research course. FarmVille is a popular game within the social networking website Facebook®. A month-long contest was introduced amongst the students with the goal to be the best individual farmer by striving to reach high levels of revenue, experience, and aesthetic appeal of their own unique farm. The contest is to demonstrate the concepts of problem formulation, solution methods, multiple and competing objectives, implementation of policy, and reformulation. The students were surveyed at the beginning of the semester to gain insight into their perceptions of the course. The students were also surveyed regarding the "FarmVille Challenge," to gauge the effectiveness of the pedagogy and students' opinions of the hand on approach. The paper demonstrates through surveyed results that the students favored this instruction. The students surveyed agree that this was an engaging and thought provoking exercise and saw the true application of multiple key fundamentals of operations research.

Meeting Name

2011 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition (2011: Jun. 26-29, Vancouver, BC, Canada)


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Second Department

Psychological Science

Keywords and Phrases

Education; Integer programming; Linear programming; Management science; Operations research; Social networking (online); Surveys; Teaching

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





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