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A Game-Based Tool for Freshmen Design Students During the Pandemic Distance Learning

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The emergence of the need for orientation since the past times led the universities to invent innovative ways to prepare their students for the activities and courses they will face. Hence, various types of orientation have been provided during history. However, today with the outbreak of the Covid-19 and the closure of the schools, most of the students are continuing their studies as distance learning. While this situation is very disappointing for all freshmen students who do not know the university's atmosphere, it is extremely disruptive, specifically for the design ones, which are passing tactile courses, demanding being held face to face. This ascertains the research's problem as a need for an interactive solution for the issue to lessen the consequent problems. Game-based orientation (GBO) is a tool, engaging the freshmen students as players with the provided data in it, which are the essentials for a novel student to know before entering the university. It allows the student to be dealt with the school services, Istanbul Technical University in this case, and use them in terms of the game's tasks. The scoring system, the ultimate certificate, the leaderboard leading them to prizes, and the game's non-linearity will attract the students to use GBO frequently to finish it and experience all the possible scenarios.
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GÜZEL SANATLAR TASARIM VE MİMARLIK FAKÜLTESİ
5-6 Nisan 2021
Başkent Üniversitesi Bağlıca Kampüsü, ANKARA
75
BAŞKENT ÜNİVERSİTESİ GÜZEL SANATLAR TASARIM VE MİMARLIK FAKÜLTESİ
4. SANAT VE TASARIM EĞİTİMİ SEMPOZYUMU
BİLDİRİLER KİTABI
GÖRSEL İLETİŞİM TASARIMI
BAŞKENT ÜNİVERSİTESİ GÜZEL SANATLAR TASARIM VE MİMARLIK FAKÜLTESİ
4. ULUSLARARASI SANAT VE TASARIM EĞİTİMİ SEMPOZYUMU BİLDİRİLER KİTABI 77
A Game-Based Tool For
Freshmen Desgn Students
Durng The Pandemc Dstance
Learnng
Sepehr Vaez Afshar
Sarvin Eshaghi
Asst. Prof. Muhammed Ali Örnek
Istanbul Techncal Unversty, Faculty of Archtecture
ABSTRACT
The emergence of the need for orientation since the past times led the universities to invent innova-
tive ways to prepare their students for the activities and courses they will face. Hence, various types
of orientation have been provided during history. However, today with the outbreak of the Covid-19
and the closure of the schools, most of the students are continuing their studies as distance learning.
While this situation is very disappointing for all freshmen students who do not know the universit-
y’s atmosphere, it is extremely disruptive, specically for the design ones, which are passing tactile
courses, demanding being held face to face. This ascertains the research’s problem as a need for an
interactive solution for the issue to lessen the consequent problems. Game-based orientation (GBO)
is a tool, engaging the freshmen students as players with the provided data in it, which are the essen-
tials for a novel student to know before entering the university. It allows the student to be dealt with
the school services, Istanbul Technical University in this case, and use them in terms of the game’s
tasks. The scoring system, the ultimate certicate, the leaderboard leading them to prizes, and the
game’s non-linearity will attract the students to use GBO frequently to nish it and experience all the
possible scenarios.
Keywords: Design Education, Game-Based Learning, Distance Learning, COVID-19
BAŞKENT UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF FINE ARTS, DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE
4th INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON ART AND DESIGN EDUCATION PROCEEDINGS
78
Pandemik Uzaktan Eğitim Sırasında Birinci Sınıf Tasarım Öğrencileri
İçin Oyun Tabanlı Bir Araç
ÖZET
Geçmiş zamanlardan bu yana oryantasyon ihtiyacının ortaya çıkması, üniversitelerin öğrencilerini kar-
şılaşacakları etkinlik ve kurslara hazırlamak için yenilikçi yollar bulmasına yol açtı. Bu nedenle, tarih
boyunca çeşitli oryantasyon türleri sağlanmıştır. Ancak bugün Covid-19 salgını ve okulların kapan-
ması ile öğrencilerin çoğu uzaktan eğitim olarak çalışmalarını sürdürmekte. Bu durum, üniversitenin
atmosferini bilmeyen tüm birinci sınıf öğrencileri için çok hayal kırıklığı yaratırken, özellikle yüz yüze
yapılmayı talep eden tasarım derslerinden geçen, tasarım öğrencileri için son derece yıkıcı. Söz konusu
durum, araştırmanın problemini, ortaya çıkabilen sorunları azaltmak için etkileşimli bir çözüm ihti-
yacı olarak, göz önüne getiriyor. Oyuna dayalı oryantasyon (GBO), birinci sınıf öğrencilerini yeni bir
öğrencinin üniversiteye girmeden önce bilmesi gereken temel olan verilerle oyuncular olarak meşgul
eden bir araçtır ve öğrencinin okul hizmetleriyle, İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi özelinde, ilgilenmesini
ve oyunun görevleri niteliğinde kullanmasını sağlar. Puanlama sistemi, nihai sertika, onları ödüllere
götüren liderlik tablosu ve oyunun doğrusal olmaması, öğrencileri GBO’yu bitirmek ve olası tüm
senaryoları deneyimlemek için sık sık kullanmaya çekecektir.
Anahtar Kelimeler: Tasarım Eğitimi, Oyun Tabanlı Öğrenme, Uzaktan Eğitim, COVID-19
1.INTRODUCTION
Background
Going back in the literature, starting in the 1870s, familiarising the novel students entering from the
school to the university during the initial weeks of the school with what is expecting them via the uni-
versity orientations was always of great importance. These orientations may include both academic
issues instanced as registration and personal ones such as socializing with people, domestic culture,
and new services in the campus environment. (Fitz-Walter, Tjondronegoro, & Wyeth, 2012; Reason
et al., 2006; Robinson, Burns, & Gaw, 1996; Taub & Komives, 1998; Watts, 2019). However, due to
their passive nature consisting of sitting and listening to the tedious speakings introducing the school
members and facilities or guided campus tours which are still in the following theme (Dennen et al.,
2015), encouraging students to attend these events seems difcult (Fitz-Walter, Tjondronegoro, &
Wyeth, 2012). In addition to traditional university orientations, with the emergence of online courses
in higher education, a need for online student orientation (OSO) has been raised. Due to the possible
loss feeling that the students may experience in the novel online learning environment and desociali-
zation, which affects their interaction with classmates and their ultimate success in the course (Cho,
2012). Although, currently, students work and communicate easier with web-based tools, learning
online is more different than working and playing online (Watts, 2019). Hence, the need for OSOs
remains for the online courses.
Recently, since the global emergence of the Covid-19 outbreak, many studies have been conduc-
ted to investigate its impacts, the consequences, and related connement periods of the pandemia,
which have affected education to a large extent by the closure of the schools. A signicant number
of studies are evaluating the negative side effects of the new normal, distance learning, regarding
different levels of education. According to the literature review, instructors and students suffer from
mental health problems arising from e-learning, namely anxiety, depression, and concerns about their
future education or career. These outcomes occur due to lack of internet connectivity, especially in
digitally under-developed countries, unfavorable study environment at home, the lack of face-to-face
BAŞKENT ÜNİVERSİTESİ GÜZEL SANATLAR TASARIM VE MİMARLIK FAKÜLTESİ
4. ULUSLARARASI SANAT VE TASARIM EĞİTİMİ SEMPOZYUMU BİLDİRİLER KİTABI 79
interaction and socialization with classmates or instructors, consequently the lack of motivation and
enjoyment leading to missing of the real-time idea transmission (Adnan, 2020; Aristovnik et al., 2020;
Cao et al., 2020; Hasan & Bao, 2020; Husky et al., 2020; Kapasia et al., 2020; Toquero, 2020; Wang et
al., 2020). While the problems are similar to the previously mentioned online courses’, according to
Adnan (2020), there is a more signicant concern about the students who are tactile learners, which as
art and design students, are the focal point of this study. According to Dilmaç (2020), the art and de-
sign students tackle various troubles in their applied courses, despite their ease in managing distance
learning technology due to their familiarity with the technology regarding their major. Based on the
interviews conducted in the study, the participant students stated that these sort of practice courses
need to be held face to face to have practical lessons with fun and with some tools in the workshops
which don’t exist at their home.
Additionally, the anxiety caused by the Covid-19 period also affects their motivation and creativity to
produce artworks. However, suppose we add the depression level of the freshman students who start
their university experience in the pandemic period with no feeling of being in the faculty, especially
the art ones, with no practical introduction to the tools and techniques. In that case, there is a consi-
derable gap, and the topic will need a more interactive solution to be solved.
Currently, almost all of the universities set video call meetings on various platforms such as Zoom
as their orientation program, which are boring for the students to join. Seeking an innovative way to
handle the situation, gamication, which refers to the use of game elements in the non-game con-
texts raising the engagement and motivation, seems to be a proper way (Fitz-Walter, Tjondronegoro,
& Wyeth, 2012; Fitz-Walter et al., 2011). Hence, this study proposes a game-based tool for acquain-
ting undergraduate students of the Faculty of Architecture of Istanbul Technical University with the
facilities and spatial information of the campus and the artistic tools and techniques for school orien-
tation in the current Covid-19 condition. However, to gure out the previous works, we conducted a
broad literature review, presenting below.
Literature review
Regarding previous game-based orientations, Fitz-Walter, Tjondronegoro, and Wyeth (2012), desig-
ned and developed a gamied mobile application added to the university’s existing application, en-
couraging the students during the rst weeks of their university. They were supposed to enter some
numbers, scanning QR codes, adding some friends to their contacts, and checking in some locations
to explore the campus, collecting some items and information about the school’s services in additi-
on to getting used to the functions of the available application. There is a leaderboard showing the
students with the highest levels based on their completed challenges. Dennen et al. (2015) also deve-
loped a similar team-based game with seven paths, each consisting of locations, QR codes, videos,
and clues ending to letters which will be assembled leading to the nal destination to familiarize the
players with locations and services to replace an hour of a regular orientation. However, there are
online orientations that are not in a game-based theme. Cho (2012) developed a web-based program
integrated to Blackboard consisting of 4 modules developing the understanding of the students re-
garding online learning, solving technical issues using blackboard, and a survey part assessing their
ability to use the online learning. Additionally, Watts (2019) created an OSO embedded in a course
curriculum and studied its effects on the students. Virtual reality is also used in colleges and univer-
sities as a student orientation tool by Valenti, Lund, and Wang (2020), taking advantage of game
engagement theory. Moreover, game-based orientations have been used in libraries as scavenger hunt
or treasure hunt games. Giles (2015) developed a narrative-based game for the orientation of a library
with a mysterious theme to nd a stolen book by nding some clues. Additonally, Fusich et al. (2011)
BAŞKENT UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF FINE ARTS, DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE
4th INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON ART AND DESIGN EDUCATION PROCEEDINGS
80
created the game HML-IQ introducing the library and its resources and services to the students with
weekly games and gaming nights.
Concerning the existing literature, the lack of any specic orientation game for art freshmen students
introducing the related techniques and stuffs specically based on the Faculty of Architecture of
Istanbul Technical University led us to the conduction of the current study for the occurred new nor-
mal in the Covid-19 situation and even as a permanent orientation system for the next normal years.
2. METHOD
Project Rationale
Regarding the previously mentioned works, the most important part of designing an orientation
program is to have a proper framework demonstrating the program’s ow and the issues needed to
be embedded in it. Hence, rst of all, we prepared two modules consisting of the information which
we want to transmit to a player as a freshman student in the proposed game-based tool. While the
rst module (Figure1) depicts the general information such as campus map, contact information,
ITU educational online platforms, ITU social activities, and ITU prole, the second one (Figure 2)
concentrates more on the specic technical requirements of the art students in the Taşkışla campus
such as software and kinds of stuff they will need during their education.
Figure1. Module 1, General Information Provided in the Game
Figure 2. Module 2, Technical Requirements Provided in the Game
5
Figure1. Module 1, General Information Provided in the Game
Figure 2. Module 2, Technical Requirements Provided in the Game
Game Design and Game Play
To be able to transmit this information to the students using the GBO, we prepared a
scenario for the player to interactively be engaged with the data and learn them. The player
in the role of a freshmen design student will enter the Taşşla Campus and look for his/her
5
Figure1. Module 1, General Information Provided in the Game
Figure 2. Module 2, Technical Requirements Provided in the Game
Game Design and Game Play
To be able to transmit this information to the students using the GBO, we prepared a
scenario for the player to interactively be engaged with the data and learn them. The player
in the role of a freshmen design student will enter the Taşşla Campus and look for his/her
BAŞKENT ÜNİVERSİTESİ GÜZEL SANATLAR TASARIM VE MİMARLIK FAKÜLTESİ
4. ULUSLARARASI SANAT VE TASARIM EĞİTİMİ SEMPOZYUMU BİLDİRİLER KİTABI 81
Game Design and Game Play
To be able to transmit this information to the students using the GBO, we prepared a scenario for the
player to interactively be engaged with the data and learn them. The player in the role of a freshmen
design student will enter the Taşkışla Campus and look for his/her coordinator for some course re-
gistration. After guring the map of the campus to nd the coordinator’s room, the player will face
plenty of tasks that they should do in real life in order to pass the levels. These tasks, like mini-games,
require using the ITU services such as Ninova, Mail, etc., and wandering in the campus map in the
game to nd the right locations. Additionally, the required technical staff and software for an art stu-
dent will be taught during the game. However, due to the non-linear nature of the game, the player
can do the same task with fewer or more actions, which will affect his/her score on the leaderboard.
At the end of the game, each player will get a certicate, and the best players on the leaderboard will
get a prize. We demonstrated the game structure, including six elements proposed by Prensky (2001),
in Table 1.
Table 1. Game Structure
Additionally, for game development, the Twine open-source platform was used for developing the
game without requiring almost any coding skills in a storytelling theme (Twine, 2020). This platform
lets us have an HTML-based game playable in any browser and any device, with an audiovisual theme
(Figure 3).
6
coordinator for some course registration. After figuring the map of the campus to find the
coordinator's room, the player will face plenty of tasks that they should do in real life in order
to pass the levels. These tasks, like mini-games, require using the ITU services such as
Ninova, Mail, etc., and wandering in the campus map in the game to find the right locations.
Additionally, the required technical staff and software for an art student will be taught during
the game. However, due to the non-linear nature of the game, the player can do the same
task with fewer or more actions, which will affect his/her score on the leaderboard. At the end
of the game, each player will get a certificate, and the best players on the leaderboard will
get a prize. We demonstrated the game structure, including six elements proposed by
Prensky (2001), in Table 1.
Table 1. Game Structure
Game Element (from
Prensky, 2001)
Manifestation in GBO
Rules
There is a non-linear storyline with various paths based on
the player’s selections.
Goals and Objectives
The final aim is to get the certificate by finishing the game
and the prize based on the leaderboard.
The objective is to familiarize the new design students with
the campus, staff, and facilities and the specific artistic
issues along with the game.
Outcomes and Feedback
Feedback comes via successfully finishing each task and
facing the next one.
Conflict, Competition, or
Challenge
Although everyone who finishes gets a certificate, there is
an action number challenge, in which you should do the task
with the least possible actions to raise your place on the
leaderboard.
Interaction
In the current online format, the interaction is at the
leaderboard level; however, after Covid-19
, the game can
be played in-person by going to the university, scanning the
QR codes in the locations, and interacting with each other.
Representation or Story
The game is about a freshman design student who is not
familiar with the school.
Additionally, for game development, the Twine open-source platform was used for
developing the game without requiring almost any coding skills in a storytelling theme
(Twine, 2020). This platform lets us have an HTML-based game playable in any browser and
any device, with an audiovisual theme (Figure 3).
BAŞKENT UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF FINE ARTS, DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE
4th INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON ART AND DESIGN EDUCATION PROCEEDINGS
82
Figure 3. Sample of Game Screen (Mimarlık Fakültesi, 2021)
3.CONCLUSION
This paper discusses the need for an interactive orientation for the freshmen design students, speci-
cally in the current Covid-19 situation, in which the schools are closed, and the new students start
their university with no previous point of view to what is expecting them. The existing orientations
designed by the schools are all in the video call meeting or pre-recorded video format, not attracting
the students to join or watch. Hence, GBO can be a way to ll this gap that this generation faced.
The interactive non-linear story-telling nature of this game will immerse the students in it and will
familiarize them with the campus, its facilities, and all the essential services which any student should
know and be able to use by giving some tasks to them to proceed in the game. The scoring system
and the provided certicate will attract them more to play it. However, as future work, the game can
be prepared for all students as a freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior with their related course
contents. In this way, the students can have an overall look toward their every year in the initial weeks
of it. The game also can always be updated and used as an announcement system for the occurring
events in that time. As a more developed version of it, the game can be played in-person by simply
adding QR codes to the intended locations in the campus to be able to be used as a physical game
after the Covid-19, to introduce the school better to the students.
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7
Figure 3. Sample of Game Screen
(Mimarlõk FakŸltesi, 2021)
3. CONCLUSION
This paper discusses the need for an interactive orientation for the freshmen design
students, specifically in the current Covid-19 situation, in which the schools are closed, and
the new students start their university with no previous point of view to what is expecting
them. The existing orientations designed by the schools are all in the video call meeting or
pre-recorded video format, not attracting the students to join or watch. Hence, GBO can be a
way to fill this gap that this generation faced. The interactive non-linear story-telling nature of
this game will immerse the students in it and will familiarize them with the campus, its
facilities, and all the essential services which any student should know and be able to use by
giving some tasks to them to proceed in the game. The scoring system and the provided
certificate will attract them more to play it. However, as future work, the game can be
prepared for all students as a freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior with their related
course contents. In this way, the students can have an overall look toward their every year in
the initial weeks of it. The game also can always be updated and used as an announcement
system for the occurring events in that time. As a more developed version of it, the game can
be played in-person by simply adding QR codes to the intended locations in the campus to
BAŞKENT ÜNİVERSİTESİ GÜZEL SANATLAR TASARIM VE MİMARLIK FAKÜLTESİ
4. ULUSLARARASI SANAT VE TASARIM EĞİTİMİ SEMPOZYUMU BİLDİRİLER KİTABI 83
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Virtual reality (VR) has emerged as a popular technology for gaming and learning, with its uses for teaching presently being investigated in a variety of educational settings. However, one area where the effect of this technology on students has not been examined in detail is as tool for new student orientation in colleges and universities. This study investigates this effect using an experimental methodology and the population of new master of library science (MLS) students entering a library and information science (LIS) program. The results indicate that students who received a VR orientation expressed more optimistic views about the technology, saw greater improvement in scores on an assessment of knowledge about their program and chosen profession, and saw a small decrease in program anxiety compared to those who received the same information as standard text-and-links. The majority of students also indicated a willingness to use VR technology for learning for long periods of time (25 minutes or more). The researchers concluded that VR may be a useful tool for increasing student engagement, as described by Game Engagement Theory.
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Covid-19 affected higher educational institutions not just in Wuhan, China where the virus originated but all other higher educational institutions in 188 countries as of April 06, 2020. Educational countermeasures are taken to continue educating the students despite the COVID-19 predicaments. Based on the author’s experiences, research, observations in the academe, COVID-19 guidelines, and the need for alternative solutions, this article introduces how higher education is affected and how it can respond to future challenges. This article recommends to educational institutions to produce studies to proliferate and document the impact of the pandemic to the educational system. There is also a greater need for educational institutions to strengthen the practices in the curriculum and make it more responsive to the learning needs of the students even beyond the conventional classrooms.
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