New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Electrical and Computer
This paper discusses an ongoing educational research project which includes the development of a video game, TestX, to improve the learning of digital systems concepts in digital systems and computer architecture courses, and studies with students at three diverse institutions using the game. Two objectives of the research are to: create new student learning materials and strategies which vertically integrates a conceptual or pedagogical approach on digital system design into sequences of courses in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) and computer science (CS) curriculums, and contribute to knowledge on undergraduate student attitudes on the use of video games as a motivator for pursuing an ECE or CS major, and the effect on student performance, especially those from underrepresented groups.
Currently the game player has to go through Levels and Worlds in sequence, and Stages can be explored in any order. The game design combines the freedom to explore, which is a key feature of video games, with a sequential progression that is typical to a course of study. Digital circuit design problems are presented in the form of truth tables specifying the desired output for the given inputs, boolean expressions specifying the logic expressions representing the function of the problems, or word problems describing the problems. The game currently includes combinational digital circuitry concepts. A player can generate design solutions in a circuit environment where s/he can drag and drop various gates and custom building blocks from an inventory box onto a board that has the external inputs and outputs. The game provides two components that players can use when they encounter difficulties. Interface Help explains how to use the features of the digital circuit design component of the game. Logic Help provides context-sensitive help about the current problem while also allowing players to access fundamental material on digital logic that they may need if they have limited prior knowledge. Both components are under user control, providing just-in-time help. The effectiveness of the game is assessed using a common pre- and post-test and simple embedded assessment in the game.
Butler-Purry, K. L., & Oren, M., & Pedersen, S., & Foreman, J., & Obiomon, P., & Katangur, A. K. (2016, June), Improving Learning of Digital Systems Concepts Using a Video Game Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25622
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