UVA Bay Game Courses
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For the fall 2010 semester UVA environmental sciences professor David Smith organized a multi-disciplinary five course and studio cluster on the Chesapeake Bay watershed: architecture (taught by Bill Sherman and Eric Field), commerce and graduate business (Mark White), systems integration (Gerry Learmonth), law (Leon Szeptycki), and environmental sciences (Smith).
Once each week these courses met together, as one large multi-disciplinary class, to play the UVA Bay Game and explore the interrelation of topics and methods in each of the separate courses. Faculty members also used game development as an opportunity for student research: Learmonth’s systems integration class (working with Allison Leach, UVA environmental sciences professor Jim Galloway’s research assistant) built an airshed module; Field’s visualization of information studio redesigned the user interface; and Smith’s environmental sciences class prepared supplemental materials on each stakeholder role and Bay ecology.
These multi-class gameplays yielded the first systematic data on player decision-making, particularly on the relation of communication among players and the formation of player groups. Education school professor David Feldon and his PhD student Jennifer Elliott used this data to test and refine novel learning assessment tools developed especially for complex systems simulations.
For the faculty team the UVA Bay Game now serves as a shared teaching laboratory: it enables new educational procedures, and its continuous revision affords distinctive learning opportunities for faculty and students alike.
University User Group
In December 2010 the UVA Bay Game team invited colleagues at regional higher education institutions to join in establishing a user consortium to accelerate game development for wide dissemination. Following planning meetings in early 2011 the user consortium decided to conduct a bold experiment in inter-institutional education by conducting a 7 university gameplay on Earth Day 2011. In the 2011-12 academic year the user consortium will test the UVA Bay Game in a wide range of courses and class formats. We also will use gameplay data to refine learning assessment tools. In fall 2012 we anticipate expanding the user consortium to many other higher education institutions throughout the Bay region. For additional details, click on regional user consortium and Earth Day 2011.
In November 2010 the UVA Bay Game and partner Azure Worldwide keynoted the annual Virginia Ed Tech Workshop in Roanoke, VA with more than 500 K-12 teachers and conducted a gameplay. In January Tammy McGraw (Director, Educational Technology, Virginia Department of Education) and Cheri Kelleher (Program Coordinator, Virtual Virginia) selected a 150-student advanced placement environmental sciences class offered on the Virtual Virginia platform for a K-12 test. In March Colleen Spinelli and Tara Farr conducted a two-week gameplay to demonstrate the feasibility of using the UVA Bay Game in virtual classrooms with asynchronous teacher-student interaction. We next will test the UVA Bay Game for K-12 teacher professional development.