Projects ATEC Research
As a graduate student in ATEC at UT Dallas, I worked as a research assistant on projects focusing on interactive learning, mostly as a user interface designer, working on paper and in Flash and Scaleform.
NursingAP is a collaborative research project between UT Dallas (ATEC) and UT Arlington College of Nursing (UTACON), building a distance-learning website for advanced practice nursing. It is intended to address shortages in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) faculty and graduates by exploring novel approaches such as non-linear content organization and immediate-feedback interactive content.
The “complex interactives” below are my work, except where noted.
This ventilator interactive helps students understand how to use a pressure/volume ventilator in a number of scenarios. The student is asked to consider the patient’s profile and medical diagnosis, make an interpretation, and then adjust the ventilator settings (or not) accordingly. The student may “pass” the interactive as soon as all the ventilator controls are set to acceptable settings.
As these interactives are intended to “extend” the professor, I included our subject matter expert as an avatar (informally known as Tiny Judy). She pops up to give instructions and information as well as immediate positive/negative feedback based on the student’s choices.
The scenario information is written in XML and assets are loaded dynamically, allowing scenarios to be added/edited/removed apart from the Flash; the interactive also generates tracking information, also in XML, that can be used for student-assessment purposes. I worked with our subject matter expert to design the interactive, and a coworker modeled the 3D patient illustration.
This cardiac interactive presents common neonatal cardiac defects. The student may choose a defect to study, or may test their knowledge by opting to identify a randomly-selected defect based on the patient’s profile. Once the defect is identified, a heart model (many of them animated) appears to illustrate the defect. Then, the student is presented with a number of intervention options. They may “pass” the interactive once they have selected all the appropriate interventions. Once again, Tiny Judy is present to offer guidance and feedback.
The defect information is written in XML and assets are loaded dynamically, allowing defects to be added/edited/removed apart from the Flash. I worked with our subject matter expert to design the interactive, and the animated heart model assets were modeled by a coworker, with animated diagrams superimposed in Flash.
This pain management interactive is relatively simple, and has no assessment component; it is intended to enhance the student’s awareness of the neonate’s susceptibility to pain by giving a sense of context for the upward pathway of pain impulses. The pathway is divided into ‘snapshots,’ which the student may step through sequentially or access directly via thumbnails on the patient figure. Much like the cardiac heart animations, the assets were modeled by a coworker, with animated diagrams superimposed in Flash.
Working with Children’s Medical Center and the Health Resources and Services Administration, we also developed a neonatal nursing simulator based on Unreal, for which I designed and built a round of UI controls in Flash, to be implemented in Unreal via Scaleform.
First Person Cultural Trainer (FPCT) is a cultural simulator built with Unreal, designed to help military personnel adapt to Middle Eastern society (read the white paper here or the UTD News Center brief here). The player selects a scenario and plays through four stages, each with its own set of objectives, and each followed by an opportunity for review. Through interactions with non-player characters (NPCs), the player works to build trust and contribute to the community while making contacts and gathering intelligence.
These UI components are built in Flash and implemented in Unreal via Scaleform.