A report from The University of North Carolina Greensboro details a development by the University's Division of Continual Learning concerning a new college credit that uses online 'serious game' technology to teach the principles of microeconomics "by following an alien species that must learn how to survive after crash-landing on a futuristic, post-apocalyptic earth.”"
The online class, ECON 201, is currently scheduled to launch during the fall 2006 semester and will use online games teach students how to deal with and apply numerous economic principles, as well as disciplines that exist outside the scope of pure economics, including biology, history and anthropology. For example, students must make ethical decisions as they play the game, as they face disease outbreak, and they review historical examples of how the earth faced similar problems before.
The course, an excellent example of games for educational purposes, will be taught using “a series of problem-solving tasks that are part of the overarching game narrative.” Questions and situations that must overcome in the game will determine how well the students have grasped the material taught as they continue to play at their own pace.
The University of North Carolina Greensboro's course itself was developed through the collaborative work of university web designers and instructional experts, as well as head of the Department of Economics, Bryan School of Business and Economics and Dr. Jeff Sarbaum, and economics instructor who served as the academic advisor for the development of ECON 201.
Interested parties can visit the The University of North Carolina Greensboro's story
on the course for the full report, which includes more detailed information on the new course, as well as quotes from Dr. Jeff Sarbaum, and a link to an early look at the course itself.