University of Texas at Dallas professor Michael J. Savoie has secured a $250,000 grant toward the development of an interactive online game designed to introduce incoming UT Dallas students to college life and increase student retention.
Speaking to the Collin County Business Press
, Savoie noted the importance of keeping students enrolled in classes up until graduation.
"Just because you get the student to campus does not mean they are going to stay for four years and graduate with a degree," said Savoie. "That is really the issue. If you don’t have the retention then obviously, from a school's standpoint, we are losing our customers and we are losing our revenue stream."
Savoie serves as director of e-business initiatives and center for information technology and management at the UT Dallas School of Management. His development team's grant is part of a larger sum of $2.5 million awarded to 11 accepted project proposals submitted to the Transforming Undergraduate Education initiative.
The proposed game will prepare new UT Dallas students for life away from home, and will challenge players to maintain a proper balance between academics, finances, and a part-time job.
The game will enter prototyping phase soon, and will be tested among groups of students at UT Dallas. Savoie plans to make the game available as a free download upon its scheduled completion in the fall of 2010.