Elon Computing Sciences


Presentation at Elon Student Undergraduate Research Forum, Spring 2013

Dan Eagle, Riese Narcisse, and Thomas Price (Dr. Shanon Duvall) Department of Computing Sciences

Video games and education have a lot in common. Both games and education require doing some kind of work while receiving feedback and rewards. The major difference is that games are voluntary; you only play games when you want to play them. On the other hand, class is more or less mandatory. There are very real consequences for not participating in the educational system. So, we would like to study whether or not a game can get players to volunteer their time to do academic work by making it intrinsically enjoyable. How do you make traditional/formal education engaging like a video game?

Our project will use a classroom metagame layer as a tool to analyze how or if games can further our engagement in education. We will present a game we created that offers optional content to further engage students with everyday class. The game is web based and connects the students in a class with each other in multiplayer RPG-style gameplay. The professor of the class is the orchestrator for all of the quests and rewards obtained. We will present a user interface that allows the professor to easily tailor the game to enhance the learning objectives for students in any particular class.

Further, we will draw conclusions about important open game design questions given our experience. In particular, we will show how to vaguely define a game and still guarantee the game will be engaging. We are also investigating what kind of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are needed to get players to play serious educational games