The Anatomy Bowl

 

We're still in "prototype" - but play if you wish. This game requires "Flash" -- you might have to try a few different browsers to get it to work properly. Example - we have poor results with "Explorer" used on a Mac. Most systems and browsers should work fine.

 

This is more than most people want to know:

The Anatomy and Physiology Game Program
Murray Jensen, General College
Bush Grant Initiative for Promoting Student Learning in Large Classes
General College 1135: Human Anatomy and Physiology is a 4 credit biology course that enrolls mostly freshman who have high levels of science anxiety. My goals for the students in GC 1135 are, first, to learn the principles of anatomy and physiology, and second, to develop academic skills that will be required for success in other college courses. For example, how to take notes, how to study, and how to prepare for large exams, etc., are all themes that I reinforce repeatedly in GC 1135. At this time the most used study tool in the course is my Internet site called WebAnatomy (http://www.msjensen.gen.umn.edu/webanatomy/Default.htm). The site contains about 200 to 250 self – tests / review activities that cover every topic in an entry level-anatomy and physiology course. The site is very easy to use; even novice computer users can use the site after about 10 seconds of practice. A typical student in GC 1135 uses the site 3 or 4 times a week to review for quizzes and exams. Even though WebAnatomy is designed specially for my General College students, others from all over the world use it – last year it received over 3 million hits making it one of the most popular web sties in the University of Minnesota system.
The program that I am proposing here is the next logical step to WebAnatomy - it is a multi-player “game” that allows students to complete against one another while answering an array of anatomy and physiology questions involving text and graphics. Though we cannot use the title “Jeopardy,” the game would be Jeopardy-like in that it will have categories of questions (e.g., bones of the skull, cell biology, brain anatomy, etc.) and sets of questions under each category that involve increasing difficulty. (A student may select, for example, “Heart Physiology for 500” by clicking on that box within the game.) Each game will run for 3 minutes and then there will be one minute where scores are posted and a new game is assembled. By adding an element of competition, (i.e., students will compete for the highest score) students will ideally spend extended time playing the game - and by playing the game more they will learn more anatomy and physiology. Many students, and even adults, are obsessed with computer games and using the Internet, this game will potentially put those obsessions to good use.
The game will located and used in two separate sites. First, in an unrestricted web site where anyone, anywhere in the world can play. In this mode I expect the competition to be quite challenging, but no course credit will be awarded through use of this site. (Note: This site should be very good public relations for the University of Minnesota nad the Digital Media Center.) The second site will be restricted to only GC 1135 students. In addition to lecture and dissection lab, GC 1135 meets one hour per week in a forty-person computer laboratory and it is here that I will set-up and implement both individual and group games that will allow students to earn “bonus points” on quizzes and exams. Previous research on cooperative group learning and games has shown that competition can greatly motivate some student, it can also turn-off others (Jensen, Guttschow, & Hill, 2002). The solution to this issue is to avoid penalties for poor game performance, but rather include “bonus points” for good game performance. I plan on using the games to promote competition between groups (two, three, or four students using one computer – and then teams compete with other teams), and individuals (one person, one computer). Top performing individuals, or groups, will receive a nominal number of bonus points on the next course exam or quiz. Additionally, by playing the game in the computer classroom, students will hopefully enjoy the experience and continue to play the game at home – either in the General College site or the open site. If they do not enjoy the experience, they will still have the option of using the original Web Anatomy site where there is no competition and student can work at their own pace.
Research on the use of games in science courses is just emerging, but is already showing positive results in relation to both improved test scores and improved attitudes (Cowen & Tesh, 2002, Sulzman, 2004). My contribution to this research will relate to student cooperation and competition, and it’s effects on student test scores, attitudes towards science, and attitudes towards group work. My goal is to determine how to use the game to optimize both student learning and cooperation between students. I have done quite a bit of work in the areas of cooperative learning (David and Roger Johnson are my mentors) and students using computers in anatomy and physiology (Jensen, Guttschow, & Hill, 2002, Jensen, Moore, & Hatch, 2002, a and b, and Jensen, Johnson, & Johnson, 2002). Both these areas will come together in this endeavor, which will be the focus of my work with the Bush Grant.
Creating the program will be complex, but many initial steps have already been completed. The most important factor in the game’s development is the computer programmer who will create the game template. I have identified Kevin Stanek to complete this task. Stanek, who has who has over 20 years of programming experience, is both a reliable and highly-qualified programmer. Stanek has already done the preliminary work to ensure the feasibility of the program, and has guaranteed me that it will be delivered by beginning of Fall Semester, 2005, at the quoted price ($7,000 total - $3,500 from General College and $3,500 from the Bush Grant). Stanek’s template program will include the following features: first, a user’s interface where students play the game (either in the open, or General College only site) and second, an analysis section where instructors can view reports on user’s information (e.g., student performance data, etc.) and question analysis (e.g., which questions are most frequently answered correctly or incorrectly, etc.). After we receive funding for the program template, money from the Bush Grant will be used to employ undergraduate teaching assistants to develop and organize game questions. It is very important to note that undergraduates could in no way be expected to create the program template, and I cannot use my undergraduate teaching assistants until we have secured funding for the game.
When completed, the game program will be housed on my internet site in General College (http://www.msjensen.gen.umn.edu/1135/), but additional copies of the game template will be given to the U of M’s Digital Media Center for use in any way they see fit. (The game will be made using “Flash,” a programming language that is already used by many in the DMC.) Any U of M professor willing to create question sets could use the program template to create similar games for their own courses. This will be a very valuable tool for the Digital Medial Center.

References
Cowen, K.J, & Tesh, A. S (2002). Effects of Gaming on Nursing Students’ Knowledge of Pediatric Cardiovascular Dysfunction. Journal of Nursing Education. Vol. 41 (11), 507-509.
Jensen, M., Guttschow, G., and Hill, M. (2002). Technophobia and teaching technology-rich freshman science courses. The Journal of College Science Teaching, 31 (6), 360-363
Jensen, M., Moore, R., and Hatch, J. (2002). Cooperative learning, Part I:
Cooperative quizzes. The American Biology Teacher, 64 (1), 29-34.
Jensen, M., R. Moore, and J. Hatch. (2002). Cooperative learning - Part III: Electronic Cooperative Quizzes. The American Biology Teacher 64(3): 29-34.
Jensen, M., Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. (2002). Impact of positive interdependence during electronic quizzes on discourse and achievement. The Journal of Educational Research, 95(3), 161-166.
Sulzman, E. W. (2004). Games in an Introductory Soil Science Course: A Novel Approach for Increasing Student Involvement with Course Material. Journal of Natural Recourses Life Science Education. Vol 33, 98-101.