I am teaching a game design class at UCLA that a number of students are suffering through, but they seem to be having fun. I was also assigned an excellent TA to help me out: Konstantinos Sideris, who is absolutely brilliant and seriously a better teacher than I am.
Konstantinos took one of the sample apps and has really moved forward with it to turn it into a learning tool for the students!
Take a look at the sample: Direct3D sprite sample
And now take a look at the resulting work of a few days (bear in mind this is XAML/C++/CX/DirectX) at: https://github.com/ksideris/Direct2D-game-engine
It looks good and with a little work is going to be an excellent teaching tool, which is BASED off a Windows 8.1 sample! This is an excellent process and method, use other code as a base.
Thank you Costas!