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Gradcommx The Game: Inspace Attack! Educational Assessment

Overview Of Findings

The students who reviewed the online game appreciated the concept and content of the emails and the digital comics. The small number who looked at the additional content in the “Hard Mode” of the game (i.e. suggested assignments with scoring rubrics) indicated it was relevant and useful. However, the email format of the course was not generally appealing for students. It’s difficult to disentangle the general lack of interest in the online game from the timing of the pilot test, as students were asked to play the game and provide feedback during busy end-of-term period nearing finals and thesis submission deadlines. Additional pilot testing, debugging, and revisions will be required to effectively engage students with this format.

In April 2018 students were invited via OGE email to pilot GradcommX The Game: INSPACE ATTACK!, an online professional development program. The game presented the GradcommX Live communication skills content through an email-based, gamified narrative that leads participants through assignments, videos, comics, and other course content. The following is a brief description of the game concept and mechanics:

Game Concept

Using retro/pixelated graphics emulating 1980’s computer games, players are tasked with protecting INSPACE, an area of consciousness dedicated to working out problems, from the attacking Nega-U. Players learn a communications skill in each level needed to defeat one of the monsters from Nega-U’s army: Specifikos, Myopical, Borwal, Cloc, Foci, and finally Nega-U.

Game Mechanics

The game was distributed through a series of automated emails. Once students signed up via the GradX website, MailChimp sent students an email introducing the game. Each subsequent level consisted of an email containing game story text, a comic, and a link to “Hard Mode” – a website with additional assignments, videos, and content. At the end of each email, students clicked a button to indicate they had completed the level, signaling the defeat of the level boss and triggering the next email.

Gradcommx The Game: Inspace Attack!

Overall, reactions to the game were mixed. When asked to rate on a scale of one to ten how likely they are to recommend the game to colleagues, the fifteen survey respondents rated a mean of 5.20. Among the 6 respondents who completed more than half of the game levels, the mean rating was 8.33. This may indicate that students who valued the game were more likely to persist or that greater exposure to the game content increased students’ appreciation of it. Additional data from students who complete the game is needed to better understand this finding.

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Survey Respondent

“The game was great because it made me realize all of the ways I could improve my presentations – not just through the exercises, but the key concepts themselves.”


The greatest barrier to student participation in the pilot was timing. Because the game was launched near the end of the semester, most students were too busy to complete the game. Thus, feedback on the game is limited to a small sample size. However, the data provided by participants, along with data collected from students who expressed an interest in the game but did not participate, offer some useful insights.



Further Testing Suggested

The challenges associated with the game’s technical issues and the timing of this study makes it difficult to draw conclusions about the game and create recommendations. Additional beta- and pilot-testing is certainly needed to uncover effective ways of leading and distributing the game.

It’s important to acknowledge that the actual content on the GradCommX website was perceived as useful and engaging and many students reported they would use it again. It should therefore be a priority to populate this website and continue to experiment with ways to draw students to the site.

More Details

The information listed above is a part of a larger assessment of elements found within Gradcommx. 

To access the complete assessment of all elements found within Gradcommx go to:

Assessment Prepared By: