All posts by Robert O. Duncan

I'm an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences at City University of New York, with joint appointments in Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroscience. I also have an appointment as a Visiting Scholar at New York University. My research interests include cognitive neuroscience, functional magnetic resonance imaging, glaucoma, neurodegenerative disorders, attention, learning, memory, educational technology, pedagogy, and developing games for education.

York College Transformative Games Initiative

I’m very happy to announce that there is plenty of interest and support among the faculty, students, and administration to officially launch the York College Transformative Games Initiative. The objective of this committee will be to provide information about game-based learning, organize local efforts to incorporate games into the classroom, and analyze the results of these efforts in order to make improvements. The committee will operate under the direction of Xin Bai from Education, Michael Smith from Performing and Fine Arts, and myself. While our roles may be overlapping, I will be primarily handling the science underlying game design, issues related to in-game assessment of student performance, assessment of game efficacy, and administration of the committee. Xin Bai will oversee issues related to educational technology. And Michael Smith will manage issues related content, asset, and media creation by students and faculty. If you want to be included as a member of this committee or if you want to learn more about how games can be easily incorporated into your classroom, please send me an email. In a future post, I will provide the rationale for game-based learning and provide a list of peer-reviewed articles and books that document the science behind game-based learning. Announcements of the first committee meeting will take place here and via York College e-mail.  In the meantime, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have here.

CUNY Games Network Conference

Most of you are aware of the Transformative Games blog via the CUNY Games Network, so I will forgo a detailed description of that group. However, I’m excited to say that we have started planning for CUNY Fest, the first CUNY-wide games conference for learning. We are in the rudimentary planning stages, but the date is tentatively set for April 2013. We are looking to garner space in the CUNY Graduate Center, and we are seeking internal funding or support to provide for conference space, food, and stipends for keynote speakers. While the conference is designed to discuss issues related to game-based learning, there are plans to have a poster session and game demonstration that is open to faculty and students alike. I’m particularly excited about the possibility of getting students involved in game-based learning by designing and presenting their own research projects. A formal call for proposals will be issued if this plan comes to fruition.

York College Center for Interdisciplinary Health Practice

The York College Center for Interdisciplinary Health Practice (YCCIHP) was started by then Acting Dean of Health Sciences, Dana Fusco, and is currently under the leadership of Professor Joanne Lavin in Nursing. The committee is composed of faculty from Psychology, Education Technology, Nursing, the Physician’s Assistant Program, and the Occupational Therapy Program. The objective of the committee is to provide students in the health practices with opportunities for learning that would be too costly or risky to perform in the clinic. There is a vast literature supporting the efficacy and efficiency of simulations in education for the health practices. We have adopted Second Life as a platform to generate several life-like scenarios for students to explore. In these scenarios, students interact with each other and domain experts to solve a problem. In our first scenario, occupational therapy students explore the home of a patient with limited mobility. While the scenario was designed with occupational therapy students in mind, each scenario is flexible enough to be of value to other disciplines in the health sciences. A second scenario exposed students to the complications of working with an alcoholic patient suffering from delirium tremens. Scenarios in Second Life are presented in a social networking platform, which allows students to comment on the scenarios. Students and domain experts can also role-play various characters in real time to learn the lesson from different perspectives. Several conference abstracts and three formal studies of the learning environment have been published:

  1. Bai, X., Duncan, R.O., Horowitz, B., Glodstein, S., Graffeo, J., Lavin, J. (2012). The added value of 3D simulations in healthcare education. International Journal of Nursing Education. [IN PRESS]
  2. Bai, X., Lavin, J., Duncan, R.O. (2012). Are we there yet? Lessons learned through promoting 3D learning in higher education. The International Journal of Learning. 18(6):1-14.
  3. Bai, X., Horowitz, B., Duncan, R.O., Glodstein, S., Graffeo, J., Lavin, J. (2011) Designing Case Studies through 3D Simulations for the Health Professions. In T. Bastiaens & M. Ebner (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2011 (pp. 907-910). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
  4. Horowitz, B., Bai, X., Duncan, R.O., Glodstein, S., Graffeo, J., Lavin, J. (2012). “Infusing Gerontology across Academic Disciplines through Virtual and Service Learning Pedagogies.” Association for Gerontology in Higher Education’s 38th Annual Meeting and Educational Leadership Conference.