Digitalization is gaining increasing attention in Higher Education (HE). The integration of digital tools into instructional settings is particularly challenging, However, it offers many opportunities to improve the learning process of students, especially in interdisciplinary teaching scenarios such as teaching sustainable usage of space and resources i.e. for the coastal zones and the marine areas. Worldwide, Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) are much needed approaches to manage and organize the increasing use of the sea and coastal areas. Both are complex fields that are attracting more and more attention in interdisciplinary HE. Correspondingly designed, the module ‘Planning and Management of Coastal Zones and Sea Basins’ at the University of Oldenburg, Germany, provides a case for integrating digital tools into HE. In 2020, the digital serious game ‘MSP Challenge´ was used in an online learning format. This interactive and collaborative tool supports informed decision making based on real and simulated data, comparable to business (decision) processes based on environmental information systems (EIS). Therefore, the MSP Challenge game fosters not only the understanding of the complex topic but additionally methodological skills which can be transferred to the usage EIS. While playing, students become able to (1) evaluate and simulate impacts of uses on coastal and marine environments, (2) describe the main interactions in ecosystems, (3) conceptualize information for sectoral or integrated MSP and (4) reflect on the role and use of data. In the presented case master students studying “Water and Coastal Management” participated in the module. Moreover, the digital serious game and the interdisciplinary topics of MSP and ICZM provides additional opportunities to explore subtopics (e.g. IT-related) from other disciplinary perspectives.
Questions this practice may help answer:
- How can digital tools be implemented in the context of higher education?
- What are the outcomes of serious games implementation in the context of higher education?
- How can students improve their learning and methodological skills with serious games?
This research was led in the framework of the project “Gamification of Higher Education” "Innovative Lehr- und Lernkonzepte: Innovation Plus" of the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, Germany.
Aspects / Objectives:
This study aims to highlight the benefits provided by digital tools implementation in the framework of Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) processes, to address educational challenges. The research objectives were to integrate the MSP challenge serious game within MSP and ICZM modules, to encourage the learning process.
The research was based on the module "Planning and Management of Coastal Zones and Sea Basins" of the University of Oldenburg in Germany in which the MSP Challenge serious game was integrated into Higher Education (HE). A serious game tool was introduced to Master students studying Water and Coastal Management, who were invited to share their ideas and strategies for the serious game. Then, during the serious game session, students were designated to represent stakeholders from five North Sea countries.
Main Outputs / Results:
This paper highlights the role of digital tools in Higher Education, focusing on serious games, to link multidisciplinary approaches and views, as well as increasing learning outcomes for students. The use of such a tool provides opportunities for students to explore other disciplinary perspectives and to foster their understanding of complex topics and their methodological skills.
This article focuses on digital tools outcomes when implemented in a context of higher education. In this sense, the approach presented in this paper can feed similar initiatives across Europe.
“Gamification of Higher Education” "Innovative Lehr- und Lernkonzepte: Innovation Plus" project.
Costs / Funding Source:
This research is part of the project “Gamification of Higher Education” "Innovative Lehr- und Lernkonzepte: Innovation Plus" of the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, Germany. The authors would especially like to thank Igor Mayer, Xander Keijser, Lodewijk Abspoel, as well as the MSP Challenge Team at BUas, the Netherlands and all supporters of the study and participating students.
Tanja Behrendt: email@example.com
Harald Warmelink: Warmelink.H@buas.nl