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Incorporating Diegetic Elements to Increase Engagement in Games for Engineering Education

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

COED: Gamification and Introducing Students to Programming

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Paper Authors


Katherine Smith Old Dominion University Orcid 16x16

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Katherine Smith received B.S. degrees in applied mathematics and mechanical engineering from Old Dominion University and an M.S. in Applied and Computational Mathematics from Old Dominion University. Ms. Smith is currently a senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Old Dominion University and is pursuing a PhD in Modeling and Simulation. Her research interests include serious games for STEM education, scientific visualization, and augmented and virtual reality. Prior to teaching at ODU, she worked as an Aerospace Engineer at NASA Langley Research Center.

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Yuzhong Shen Old Dominion University

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Yuzhong Shen received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Fudan University, Shanghai, China, M.S. degree in Computer Engineering from Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, and Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware. His research interests include computer graphics, visualization, serious games, signal and image processing, and modeling and simulation. Dr. Shen is currently an Associate Professor of the Department of Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization Engineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Old Dominion University. He is also affiliated with Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center (VMASC). Dr. Shen is a Senior Member of IEEE.

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Anthony W. Dean Old Dominion University

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Dr. Anthony W. Dean has had several roles in academia. He is currently Assistant Dean for Research, Batten College of Engineering and Technology (BCET) at ODU. His previous appointments include Associate Professor of Engineering Technology and as Associate Director of the Institute for Ship Repair, Maintenance, and Operations at Old Dominion University (ODU).His research has focused mostly on control systems (integration and testing) and the reliability and maintainability of complex systems. He has been selected as both a NASA and an ONR Faculty Fellow. He regularly teaches courses in Marine Engineering and in Maintained Systems. Most recently Dr. Dean was on the Headquarters Staff the American Society of Naval Engineers. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, and a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering Technology, from the Batten College of Engineering and Technology at Old Dominion University. Additionally, Dr. Dean received an MBA from the College of William and Mary. Prior to is academic career Dr. Dean was Director of Operations and Business Development for Clark-Smith Associates, P.C., and served as an Electrician in the US Navy aboard the USS South Carolina and the USS Enterprise.

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One of the difficulties in developing educational games is maintaining player engagement. This engagement is critical for games to provide effective learning experiences. One way to increase engagement in games is to limit interruptions during game play. In educational games, this can be accomplished by incorporating learning or problem-solving elements diegetically. Diegetic elements are those that are part of the game scene. With this in mind, a series of games for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education has been developed focusing on content in courses that are prerequisites to the engineering curriculum. These games cover topics in pre-calculus, calculus, physics, and chemistry and incorporate learning elements diegetically. This paper will focus on techniques for implementing learning components as diegetic elements in games to increase player engagement. Additionally, concrete examples will be provided to further elucidate these techniques.

Smith, K., & Shen, Y., & Dean, A. W. (2018, June), Incorporating Diegetic Elements to Increase Engagement in Games for Engineering Education Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30644

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