This Work-In-Progress paper describes the use of gamification elements for the Cellular Engineering Laboratory course at the [large, public, R1, land-grant institution]. Gamification has been emerging as a pedagogical tool over the past few years, for its perceived ability to motivate participants into desired courses of action by making mandatory or mundane tasks rewarding in some way. The application of game design elements in non-gaming environments has been considered as a mechanism to increase motivation, engagement, and attainment of course outcomes. Several common game design elements include Points, Badges, Leader Boards, Avatars, Story Lines, Visualizations, Progress Bars, Punishments, Levels, Challenges, Feedback, and Phrases; all with the intended outcome of facilitating the end-user, or student, experience in the classroom.
In this study, we implement the use of the First-Person Shooter (FPS) perspective to deliver technical content. First-person shooter (FPS) is a video game genre that relies on a first-person perspective; that is, the player experiences the action through the eyes of the protagonist. The player is able to select tools and perform actions to help them on their quest – all through the eyes of the protagonist. In a biomedical engineering wet-laboratory environment, the most common way to teach technical navigation and aseptic technique in a Biological Safety Cabinet is one-on-one, with the mentor operating in the Biological Safety Cabinet and the mentee sitting next to the mentor or behind the mentor’s shoulder. This traditional teaching approach is sufficient in research laboratory environments with low student throughput, but does not scale to a course of 32 students. We believe the use of first-person shooter, or in the case of cell culture first-person seeding, can be used to improve instructional design and scalability of the course.
Preliminary analysis of student feedback and teaching team (faculty instructor and graduate student TAs) reflections in regard to the traditional teaching approach of aseptic technique indicates the opportunity to use first-person seeding in the classroom. The effectiveness of this methodology will be assessed by a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures. Student activity quality and time to completion will be monitored. Students will also complete the College and University Classroom Environment Inventory (CUCEI) to measure their perception of the classroom environment with the addition of the gamification platform. Qualitative feedback from students will be collected through open ended survey questions to gain a better appreciation for how the gamification feature impacted their course experience. The equipment used with this gamification feature has implications for future studies, including recordings and livestreams to be used in augmented, mixed, and virtual reality. This technology has the potential to be used in online learning, flipped classroom, and outreach – and can address barriers to biomedical engineering involvement including access and affordability.
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