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Educational Immersive Simulation Game Design to Enhance Understanding of Corn-Water-Ethanol-Beef System Nexus

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Outreach, recruiting, and retention

Tagged Division

Biological & Agricultural

Page Count

13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28198

Download Count

163

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Paper Authors

biography

Deepak R. Keshwani University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Dr. Deepak Keshwani is an associate professor of Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to research in the area of bioprocess modeling, Dr. Keshwani is engaged in teaching and advising students across two academic colleges and is involved in numerous campus-wide student success initiatives.

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Ryan Drew Anderson University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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I am a graduate student pursuing my Master's degree in Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. My research is using computational modeling to integrate the systems in the food-energy-water (FEW) nexus. My current work involves connecting corn, water, ethanol, and beef systems to develop a comprehensive understanding of how these systems work together and affect each other. This will be a simplified model that will support the framework of an educational videogame that teaches the importance of systems-thinking in these fields.

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Jennifer Keshwani University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Jenny Keshwani is an Assistant Professor of Biological Systems Engineering and Science Literacy Specialist in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is active in promoting science and engineering education in both formal and informal settings through her research, extension, and outreach activities. Dr. Keshwani is actively engaged in several cross-disciplinary regional and national efforts related to STEM education and outreach. Most recently, she was part of a team that received NSF funding to engage youth in STEM through wearable technologies.

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Jeyamkondan Subbiah P.E. University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Jeyamkondan Subbiah is the Kenneth E. Morrison Distinguished Professor of food engineering at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, with joint appointments in the Departments of Biological Systems Engineering and Food Science & Technology. His research focuses on spectral imaging for predicting food quality (beef tenderness) and early diagnosis of human diseases (peripheral arterial disease). He has active research in the area of food safety engineering through integration of heat transfer model and predictive microbial growth/death models for food safety risk assessment. Every fall, he teaches a large sophomore-level class on engineering properties of biological materials, which consists of both lectures and laboratory sessions with an enrollment of more than 70 students. Every spring, he teaches a junior-level course on principles of bioprocess engineering which has an enrollment of about 25 students.

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Ashu Guru University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Dr. Guru is a computer scientist and educational researcher who focuses on curriculum development in both formal and non-formal educational settings. His expertise includes systems thinking and design, operations research, statistical modeling, and simulation. He has taught several graduate and undergraduate courses in statistics, systems engineering, operations research, and business analytics. Dr. Guru has previously served as the Director of Research Strategy at the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. In addition to his academic experience, Dr. Guru is an expert in supercomputing; he has 10 years of experience in building and managing information technology solutions at University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Fermi National Lab, Talent Plus, and IBM.

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Nathan C. Rice University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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I am a masters student at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln majoring in Biological Systems Engineering. My assistantship project focuses on developing an educational immersive simulation game to educate youth on the corn-water-energy-beef nexus and systems thinking.

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Abstract

Food, energy, and water are the three resources that are vital to nearly every process in the world. How people use these resources have long term effects on the world such as food security, water shortage, and greenhouse gas emissions. Learning how to quantify and use food, energy, and water efficiently is key to creating a sustainable life on Earth. The corn-water-ethanol-beef (CWEB) system is specifically significant to the economy of the Midwest United States. In this system, corn is grown on farms which can be sent to feed beef cattle or be processed in an ethanol plant to create ethanol for energy. This paper will present the first phase of an interdisciplinary project to develop an educational immersive simulation game to enhance understanding of the complex interactions of the CWEB system nexus and how it impacts global sustainability measures. The audience of this game will be K-12 and collegiate undergrad students. Users will play as either a corn farmer, beef rancher, feedlot manager, or an ethanol plant manager in this multiplayer game. Decisions of player will impact overall system sustainability. Even though players are competing with each other, the overall goal is to be able to create a sustainable world in the year 2050. Users will learn not only the complexities of each agricultural system, but will also learn best management practices to increase sustainability. The game will be put together by developing simplified integrated models using existing research data and models on corn, ethanol, and beef systems. The integrated models will also help determine knowledge gaps in this system for future research. Validation will be done by coupling it with historical data and comparing with past events such as droughts. Game theory will be implemented to design the social, economic, and environmental aspects of the model. Once a preliminary model is finished, it can be used to develop the simulation game framework. We expect this immersive simulation game to be a transformative educational tool to enhance systems thinking capabilities and increased understanding of the food, energy, and water nexus.

Keshwani, D. R., & Anderson, R. D., & Keshwani, J., & Subbiah, J., & Guru, A., & Rice, N. C. (2017, June), Educational Immersive Simulation Game Design to Enhance Understanding of Corn-Water-Ethanol-Beef System Nexus Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28198

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