About Learning Games Research

A Values and Ethics
Game Simulation Initiative
This initiative will begin in January 2015. Specifically, this project will center on the planning, development, and integration of 6 to 8 values and ethics game simulations (aka, “serious games”) into both the MOOC and the Management Ethics courses. The primary themes of the serious games to be developed will be ethical decision-making, organizational values, emerging ethical issues, globalization, ethical leadership and sustainability.

Additionally, this project will create a values-learning library of serious game templates that can be adopted across different curricula. This library will be shared with other St. Scholastica departments and with peer colleges, to promote broader cross-curricular impact.

Supporters and partners include C. Charles Jackson Foundation and the College of Saint Scholastica’s Sandbulte Center for Ethical Leadership.

Additionally, an online storage area for files, games, and templates has been established, at this games research site. This repository's purpose is twofold, it will allow easy storage and access to the development projects during their construction; and, when finished, it will provide a public library of values and ethics game simulations that can be adopted across the curricula in various schools and departments at the College of St. Scholastica, including Computer Science, Psychology, and Health Information Management.

Game reviews began at the end of June, and game building and testing began the second half of July. With adoption and curricular integration set for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Game Development Strategies
In defining our game development strategies, we set the parameters for three separate game formats, (i) team games, (ii) individual role playing and situational dilemmas, and (iii) arcade like serious games for mobile devices. Additionally, we have identified the follow key game criteria:
  • Clearly defined learning outcomes – The games need to have scenarios relevant to ethics and leadership course learning objectives, and game play that enables users to make ethical decisions through hands on experience of a real life situation or dilemma.
  • Higher Engagement Factor – The games need to identify the relevant ethics scenario with a game-play that can engage a user for a longer time. This will be done by surveying current casual games that are already popular and use their game-play to wrap around the concept.

The Fun Factor
The game or simulation must work with the approach of making a fun game based on the context of ethical decision making and learning, and the game must be supported with complimentary learning materials. The game should be simple enough for user to accomplish goals in levels, while challenging enough to compel them to try again.

About Our Backgrounds
Dr. Thomas Buck is a Lecturer / Instructional Designer in the School of Business and Technology, and teaches courses in management ethics, technology ethics, ecommerce, information systems and programming. Dr. Buck completed his BA in History/Philosophy (double major) at the University of Minnesota, Duluth in 1985, followed by an MS in Curriculum and Instruction (1996) at Portland State University, a PhD in Educational Psychology and Applied Information Systems (2004) from Walden University, as well as an MBA (2017) in Rural Healthcare and an MS (2021) in Health Informatics at the College of St. Scholastica.

Thomas Buck’s research work is three-fold, (i) STEM curriculum development through applied technologies; (ii) web-based assessment tools and educational game design; and, (iii) information systems, e-commerce and cultural entrepreneurship. currently working collaboratively with Dr. Richard Revoir on a Values and Ethics Game Simulation Initiative to design and incorporate serious games (simulations of real-world ethics situations and dilemmas) into the College of St. Scholastica's Management Ethics Course, and Scholastica's Ethical Leadership Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Their work has already made significant progress on this initiative, and is focused on:

  • Organizing sample game files and templates, hardware, software, and a list of individuals willing to help build and test our simulations;
  • Designing game development strategies and game criteria; and
  • Creating an online storage site for curriculum files and templates.

The process of developing game content has begun, and we will continue integrating topics suggested collaboratively by St. Scholastica students, faculty, community leaders, and the Sandbulte Center for Ethical Leadership. In assessment tools and game design, he is conducting an on-going research project on learning styles and distance learning, focusing on the developmental principles of educational psychology, game design, gender role theory, and assessment. He has also published a number of peer reviewed studies and books on topics ranging from Learning Styles and Web-based Learning to Technology Literacy Recommendations for colleges and universities. His related published works include his book, Learning in Cyberspace: A Guide to Authentic Assessment Tools for Web-based Instruction, and his McGraw-Hill/Irwin 2014 Distinguished Papers Award winning paper, Living the Case Study: Teaching Management and Leadership Ethics Through Serious Games, published by The Society for the Advancement of Information Systems.

As a Cultural Entrepreneur and internationally recognized Conservator of East Asian Historical & Cultural Artifacts, another one of Dr. Buck's passions is his research on Japanese and Chinese history, philosophy and fine arts. Among his related published works are his books The Art of Tsukamaki and Ancient Japanese Swords and Fittings, both available on Amazon.com.

Dr. Rick Revoir, Associate Professor in St. Scholastica's School of Business and Technology serves as director of the College's Sandbulte Center for Ethical Leadership.

The Sandbulte Center for Ethical Leadership helps strengthen the College's focus on teaching ethics to help integrate sound decision-making in many facets of students' lives. Revoir works with faculty members to support ethics education on campus. He brings alumni and other professionals to campus to discuss ethical issues. "Students are graduating and pursing careers in an increasingly complex world," says Revoir. "It is critical to work with students to help them identify what organizations can do to encourage and support ethical behavior in the work place."

Rick has taught classes in the College's School of Business and Technology since 2004. He teaches management ethics, healthcare finance and accounting courses.

During his career at St. Scholstica, Revoir has led five study abroad trips to China. He taught the spring 2012 semester in Louisburgh, Ireland, to St. Scholastica study abroad students. Revoir has a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, a master's of business administration degree from Arizona State University and a doctorate in education from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He serves as Commissioner and Treasurer of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.