Project

Abstract:
Students come into college with pre-assumptions on how things work. When facedwith complex problems, students jump to conclusions based on what they can physically see and their past experience. Based on real world contexts, case-based learning has been used effectively to help students become team-oriented problem solvers. Virtual worlds offer the tools and affordances to build graphically rich, interactive learning environments. In order to better support the educational community, this proposal seeks to develop a set of tools, inspired by the popular games Myst and Nancy Drew, to allow for the development for interactive case-based learning scenarios.

Brief Introduction:
In this particular scenario, student teams will identify possible causes to explain the mysterious happenings that appear to have degraded the natural environment in the salt water marsh. Inspired by the popular case-based entertainment games like Myst and the Nancy Drew Mysteries, this resource will enable students to interact with the environment, discovering clues which may or may not be causally-related to the degradation of the marsh. Through this gaming structure, layers of complexity will be built into the case, and information will be provided across various disciplines important to environmental science. Students will perform tests to gather data about the virtual marsh while recording results in an online field journal (one of the scripts to be developed) and then compare virtual results to historical data from Sandy Hook, NJ and other relevant salt marshes to determine the significance of the data they gather.

Similar to gaming simulations, continual student assessment will be built into the environment and results collected as students interact with objects throughout the build. Once students have formed a hypothesis to explain the mysterious observations presented in the case, they will collect further data to test the validity of their hunches. They will identify possible remediation strategies and propose a plan of action to restore the area’s natural processes. Student groups will present their proposed restoration plans and discuss among themselves the strengths and weaknesses of each plan to arrive at a best practice proposal together.This proposal seeks to offer the community a gaming structure that will support the collection and analysis of data as well as important formative and summative feedback channels to students. This will also support an example of best practice for creating and using case-based learning in virtual worlds. Notes on the process of planning and implementing will be shared along with strategies used to overcome barriers.

Project Documents and Links:
Case Brief

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