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Games & Simulations

Contact a consultant in Faculty Instructional Technology Services (FITS) to incorporate games or simulations into course learning activities. The FITS interactive-design team works with the content expert—the faculty member—to either create custom interactive materials, or to recommend existing tools that best suit your needs. Incorporating games and simulations into your courses can provide many benefits, including:

  • Allowing students to learn by doing: Interactive simulations provide a way for students to become active participants in the learning process and learn from their mistakes in a low-stakes, safe environment.
  • Keeping students engaged: Games and simulations can provide a valuable supplement to traditional instructional methods that keep students engaged and deliver course content to a wider variety of learning styles.
  • Expanding learning beyond the classroom: Games and simulations allow students to practice concepts and skills from any location.

Example Games & Simulations

The examples below highlight several projects that FITS staff have worked with faculty to create. To propose a project, contact Sharon Guan at xguan@depaul.edu.

Islam Quiz Game


This game was created for a Religious Studies course offered by Dr. Chris Tirres. Dr. Tirres wanted to offer students an online game to replace an activity he typically conducts in his face-to-face courses to help students review key facts about Islam. Inspired by the popular gameshow Jeopardy!, this web-based game allows students to check their knowledge through multiple-choice questions grouped by category and difficulty level. To help motivate students, Dr. Tirres offers a reward to the player who attains the highest score in the shortest amount of time.

Islam Quiz Game

Learning Disability Simulation


Dr. Eva Patrikakou and Dr. Carol Wren wanted their students in the College of Education to see an assignment through the eyes of a student with a learning disability. In this simulation, students are given two minutes to write a short essay about their weekends, but they are not allowed to use several common letters. Alert messages with startling sound effects interrupt students if they attempt to enter a forbidden character, while other warnings automatically appear at specific intervals, belittling students with messages such as, “Can't you write any faster?” At the end of the activity, students are reminded that the humiliation and frustration they felt in trying to complete this task is similar to what students with learning disabilities feel on a regular basis when trying to complete activities in class.

Learning Disability Simulation

Text Revision Tool


This tool was created for Jim Sowerby, an adjunct professor in the College of Law. When teaching legal writing, Professor Sowerby found it challenging to show students that there isn't always a single, ideal way of communicating an idea. The text revision tool allows users to quickly compare variations in short writing samples and recognize how small changes in word choice can have a big impact on a reader's interpretation of the information being presented. While the version shown here contains mostly law-related examples, the content can be easily changed to improve students' persuasive and creative writing skills in other disciplines.

Text Revision

Visual Phonics Tool


This tool was created for Dr. Beverly Trezek, an assistant professor in the School of Education. Dr. Trezek wanted an interactive tool to help students learn “visual phonics,” a series of gestures that correspond with specific phonetic sounds. This system is used to help students with hearing impairments and other learning disabilities improve their reading and pronunciation skills. To view a demonstration of this tool, contact your instructional technology consultant.

Visual Phonics

DePaul Faculty Publications

Cook, L., & Olson, J.R. (2005). The sky's the limit: An activity for teaching project management. Journal of Management Education 30 (3), 1- 17.

Reinhardt, G., & Cook, L. (2006). Is this a game or a learning moment? Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education 4 (2), 301-305.

Further Reading and Resources

Dickey, M.D. (2005). Engaging by design: How engagement strategies in popular computer and video games can inform instructional design. Educational Technology Research & Development. 53(2).

Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gee, J. P. (2012). What video games have to teach us about teaching and learning. Video of Keynote, 2012 DePaul Teaching and Learning Conference. Chicago, Illinois.