Creighton University Business Course Uses an MMO Video Game to Teach Students to Code

In one Creighton University Business Intelligence and Analytics class, the students start out as zig-zag beetles. If they want to be human again, they’ll have to learn some basic coding.

At least that’s the basis of the massively multiplayer online (MMO) game world set up by instructor Cindy Corritore. Her course requires players (students) to work with their guilds (teams) to craft their way through skill-building levels, go on quests (group projects), and complete boss battles and raids (midterm and final exams). There are no firm due dates, and students have choices as to how they earn XP, which are the basis of their grades for the course. 

Set in the Amazon, students level up to become different animals in different parts of the rainforest by proving that they understand a given coding concept and gaining XP. At the end, the students have learned all the skill necessary to design and code their own application.

The Business Intelligence and Analytics course has historically been difficult for the students, who usually come into the class with little application coding experience. But the game has successfully kept students’ interest, and it’s presented the material in a fun and somewhat familiar way.

“I think the way students learn is changing, and the environment we’re in is changing,” says Corritore. “We’re not just teaching them the material anymore. We have to teach them to solve problems and learn by themselves.”

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Creighton University
Professor of Business Intelligence and Analytics