Presented By CyGames
Selene: a lunar construction game

Selene Students Earn Spot in Research Conference

Date Posted: Feb 6 2008

Software engineering students working on the Selene videogame research at the NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future will present their work at a regional undergraduate research conference.

Storm Conaway of Wheeling, WV, and Michael Phillips of Fairmont, WV, senior software engineering students at Wheeling Jesuit University, have had their student research accepted for presentation March 14 at the Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Research Conference at West Virginia Wesleyan University in Buckhannon. Serving as second authors on their paper, Selene: Learning the Past with Today's Technologies, are their instructors, Dr. Bev Carter and Dr. Ben Hitt, and Dr. Debbie Denise Reese, senior educational researcher and manager of the Selene project at the Center for Educational Technologies®, home to the Classroom of the Future™ on the Wheeling Jesuit University campus.

The Selene videogame was created by the NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future in 2007 as part of a NASA-funded investigation into how students can best learn NASA science through videogames.

Conaway and Phillips are developing an online assessment tool to measure learning accomplished by players of the online game. The assessment will become part of an informatics system that assesses learning and reports progress to stakeholders—researchers, learners, educators, policymakers, and administrators.

Selene was designed to help learners discover, through gameplay, how the Moon was formed and evolved. One component of the assessment will feature images of the Moon and ask players to place them in order according to time periods of the Moon's evolution. This set of tasks measures learners' understanding of the concept of stratigraphy. Additional questions will ask learners to apply aspects of Selene gameplay toward the solution of problems involving the concepts of accretion, kinetic energy, differentiation, volcanism, and impact cratering. Open-ended questions will ask learners how the Moon was formed and how it evolved.

The students' presentation will illustrate the steps of the software engineering process and its application to this unique informatics challenge. Software engineering is a required course for all computer science majors at Wheeling Jesuit University. Part of the coursework involves developing and implementing a client's project. Conaway and Phillips' work is an authentic design project that will be incorporated into a NASA-funded initiative.