Assessing the Effectiveness of Using a Computer Game to Bridge a Research Agenda with a Teaching Agenda

Kristen Sanford Bernhardt, Lafayette College
Sharon Jones, Lafayette College
Christopher S. Ruebeck, Lafayette College
Jackie Isaacs, Northeastern University

American Society of Engineering Education 2010 Conference Proceedings
Best Paper Award, ASEE Environmental Division
Available here


We assess the impact of an out-of-class computer game designed to develop students’ understanding of complex tradeoffs among environmental, economic, and technological issues.  By comparing the results across three different courses using survey, essay, and focus groups as instruments, we measure the game’s success in a variety of contexts and dimensions. Students increased their self-assessed knowledge about the supply chain and teamwork in the supply chain, they made connections between the environment and business practices as well as external events and the supply chain, but they did not feel that their understanding of sustainability improved. Students in an economics class experienced less increase and knowledge and confidence than did students in either an introductory policy class or a values-oriented course about built systems.

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