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Thursday, October 6 • 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Launching the Mission: Admission Challenge

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This session, Launching the Mission: Admission Challenge, outlines the one-year process of deploying an online game-based intervention to improve college-going practices for low-income high school students in communities throughout California. One of the primary motivators behind the Mission: Admission Challenge was to harness students' daily engagement with games and social media and to apply those influences to motivate, educate, and support students in applying to college and for financial aid. This panel brings together the diverse project partners in the gaming, college access, and research fields to discuss the many components that went into launching and sustaining the Mission: Admission Challenge. The panel highlights lessons learned through project implementation, research activities, student engagement, and project evaluation.

Researcher Perspective: Conceptualizing, Recruiting, and Iterating (Pullias Center for Higher Education, Los Angeles, CA) Dr. Amanda Ochsner will present a brief overview of the Mission: Admission Challenge, beginning with key motivators for the project and how the lead investigators initially conceptualized the research design. She will then describe the team's strategies for recruiting schools and making iterations throughout the initial implementation phase based on feedback from principals, counselors, and teachers. Ochsner will also share preliminary qualitative and quantitative findings from the first year of data collection.

Game Designer Perspective: Designing, Debugging, and Troubleshooting (USC Game Innovation Lab, Los Angeles, CA) Game designers Elizabeth Swensen and Sean Bouchard will describe the process of designing an updated version of the Mission: Admission game, highlighting changes made to ensure that the game was accessible and engaging for students across a diverse spectrum of access. Throughout the duration of the project, schools in the research sample experienced a variety of technology challenges, including limited access to reliable broadband, not having adequate supply of working computers, and inability to schedule students into computer labs. Swensen and Bouchard will describe their strategies for play testing, debugging, and troubleshooting with participating schools.

Digital Engagement Perspective: Incentivizing and Engaging (Get Schooled Foundation, New York, NY & Seattle, WA): Nourisha Wells from the Get Schooled Foundation will describe their group's role in engaging and incentivizing student and school participation in the Mission Admission Challenge. She will share information about how their organization's regional and national school-based competitions are designed to increase educational outcomes such as attendance, college application, and FAFSA completion rates. She will also discuss the process for integrating a game-based research intervention into its Challenge model to incentivize student and school engagement in research participation and data collection.

Evaluator Perspective: Advising and Evaluating (APA Consulting, Denver, CO): Abby McClelland from the evaluation team will outline their strategy for measuring the impact of the intervention and examining the effects the Mission: Admission Challenge had on students college-going efficacy, college knowledge, FAFSA completion, and college enrollment. In addition to analyzing key outcome measures, the external evaluation team is also responsible for designing the evaluation study to meets the What Works Clearinghouse standards.   


Zoe Corwin

Associate Research Professor, USC


Abby McClelland

Associate, APA Consulting
avatar for Amanda Ochsner

Amanda Ochsner

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Southern California
avatar for Nourisha Wells

Nourisha Wells

Director Digital Operations and Web Development, Get Schooled
Nourisha has more than 15 years experience in digital marketing and communications with a continued emphasis on the role of technology in achieving educational outcomes. She is very happy to combine her love of education; obsession with technology and the Internets; and heavy consumption of pop culture into the perfect way to spend her weekdays at Get Schooled. And she hopes to help change the landscape of public education in the process! In... Read More →

Thursday October 6, 2016 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Doheny Ballroom

Attendees (13)