Can a video game serve as a platform to improve both the delivery and the acquisition of university-level writing skills? Working with faculty from across campus, our project introduces an immersive, first-person, paraprofessional video game — Scribe Hero — into the undergraduate classroom. Through staged formative and summative assessment, we are tracking and measuring how students learn writing, in order to better define university writing outcomes and to establish best practices for gamified and game-based learning in the undergraduate classroom. Overall production of this prototype was supported by a Learning Enhancement Fund, from the Office of the Vice President Academic at the University of Guelph. Fundamental to Scribe Hero are fun, cut-screen and educational videos, the completion of which were generously supported by a seed grant from the THINC lab at the University of Guelph.
Scribe Hero, Narrative One, Publicist for a friend’s garage band
The beta launch for Scribe Hero is currently running in ten different classrooms across campus, including courses in psychology, ecology, chemistry, toxicology, family relations and human development, history, art history, and music. Students in these classes will play through four different modules, tackling the following subjects:
(Module 1) How to understand an assignment prompt and the difference between descriptive and analytical prose
(Module 2) Cohesion and Clarity: topic sentences, active versus passive voice, and linking sentences using “known-to-new”
(Module 3) Using evidence and effectively integrating quotations, plus the fundamental rules of citation, including how to footnote and why. (Different disciplinary citation styles are included in the game, and gameplay has been customized to reflect discipline-specific requirements.)
(Module 4) Basic grammar considerations and common prose errors.
Race for the Treasure, Game found in Module 3 of Scribe Hero
In certain classrooms, student play is being rewarded with badges for unlocking achievements and excellence in performance.
Overall, the team has already learned a great deal from the students and professors involved. We thank all participants and wish everyone a happy gaming experience. We look forward to sharing our findings with everyone!
The team would especially like to thank:
· The Learning Enhancement Fund (University of Guelph)
· THINC Lab and Dr. Susan Brown
· Drs. Tara Abraham, Christina Caruso, Harjinder Gill, Sally Hickson, Martina Meyer, Robin Milhausen, and Kate Stuttaford