Incoming freshman at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, don't have to go on a guided tour to learn more about their school's library services. Instead the staff at the DiMenna-Nyselius Library can point their patrons toward another instructive resource - a videogame.
Inspired by Scene it, a series of popular DVD games that has players watch video clips to answer trivia questions, Library Scene: Fairfield Edition is a web-based game developed by the University's Media Center and reference librarians that follows four students as they travel through key areas of the school's DiMenna-Nyselius library to complete a 10-page research paper assignment.
Players must watch scenes of live action and animation, and afterward, they are presented with challenges including word puzzles, picture matching or multiple-choice questions. Upon completion of the interactive, multimedia game, students are better oriented to the DiMenna-Nyselius building and more likely to recall the library services that have been provided to support them.
How the idea for a videogame developed
Library Scene: Fairfield Edition began as an idea in the university's library department in December 2009. Conceived as a supplement to library instruction classes, three Fairfield University academic reference librarians, Phillip Bahr, Curtis Ferree, and Jessica McCullough, decided to take the idea to the next level and produce the videogame when they recognized that a more creative approach was necessary toward fulfilling the library's vision of life-long, information-literate learners.
The team realized from the outset that they didn't have the technical skill set to build an instructional videogame, so they approached Karen Connolly, Steve Evans, and Chris McGloin of the university's Media Center to assist in the production and programming of the game.
"There were lots of places during the initial stages where the game would have gotten derailed if we had focused too much on what we couldn't do. We found it much more beneficial to imagine the best possible solution to our problem, which for us was this type of interactive game, and then figure out how to make that work." Ferree said.
The Media Center staff used Apple MOTION, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Photoshop, Pro Tools, Dreamweaver, and Flash to bring the game's computer animation to life, while the librarian group worked to define the game's learning objectives and challenges and wrote the script.
Developed on a total budget of $2,500, the project was completed over the course of more than 37 hours and debuted to students in September 2010.
According to preliminary evaluation data, Library Scene: Fairfield Edition has proven popular among Fairfield University students, and received recognition in the library community when it was featured as the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online (PRIMO) "Site of the Month" in March 2011. In May 2011, Library Scene: Fairfield Edition received the PRIMO award
Video game design for information literacy
While many libraries have focused their efforts on videogame collection development, instructional design through the use of videogames is still very much on the peripheral of academic libraries and has only gained steam in the last few years. Technology has advanced to a point where librarians can become instructional designers and create their ideal educational environments, whether through online instruction or the development of an interactive videogame.
"One of the things we took away from this experience was the importance of approaching the game from a perspective of possibility and potential, rather than our limitations." Curtis said.
To test your knowledge of Fairfield University's DiMenna-Nyselius Library, visit Library Scene on the Fairfield website.
from: Library Journal