Level up: Video games inspire new ‘living textbook’ for computational sciences

By | January 29, 2021
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A new way of delivering course materials in the computational sciences aims to elevate the study experience from consuming static text and media to a conversation between the learner and the material. Called Mynerva, the cloud-based interactive textbook platform developed at U-M enables instructors to build their materials into video game-like journeys that unfold as the learner progresses.

With conventional textbooks, a student may read and view material without fully understanding it, turning the pages without building the expertise that the writer expected them to have by the next chapter. In contrast, the “codex” organization of Mynerva presents the subject matter in a sequence of steps that are punctuated with assessments that the learner must complete.

“Our vision is an interactive computational textbook platform designed to stimulate deeper conversations between students and the material they are attempting to master,” said Raj Nadakuditi, professor of electrical and computer engineering who sees this as the future of writing computational textbooks. “We also want to enable a dynamic, experiential conversation with the learner, where the material is revealed as the student progresses and is ready for it.”