Rice University Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning, with the collaboration of neuroscientists, teachers, and clinical trial managers, will create a game-based web site, Virtual Clinical Trials: ADVANCES in NEUROSCIENCE. The proposed project addresses the science education focus of the Blueprint for Neuroscience by addressing topics that are "not well addressed in existing efforts by educational, community or media activities." The game will be a powerful tool for use by teachers to educate students, and potentially their families, about the scientific process of discovery, testing, and adoption of new drugs or treatments that emerge from neuroscience research. To facilitate widespread classroom use of the online materials, the content will be aligned with high school science curriculum standards and teacher workshops are included as a component of dissemination strategy. VIRTUAL CLINICAL TRIALS: ADVANCES IN NEUROSCIENCE has four primary goals: 7 Create three web-based scenarios that will increase high school students'knowledge about specific neuroscience content and the clinical trial process. 7 Engage students in interactive role-play across a variety of neuroscience careers to promote students'science identity, to increase motivation to engage in STEM careers, and to foster positive inclinations toward participation in clinical trials;7 Assess the effectiveness of the Virtual Clinical Trials scenarios through rigorous evaluations in high school science classes and disseminate the results through peer- reviewed journals and conferences/professional meetings. 7 Promote widespread use of the Virtual Clinical Trials through teacher workshops and social media.
This project will address the goals of the Blueprint for Neuroscience through the production and widespread dissemination of three online games targeting high school students/teachers and dealing with the Clinical Trial process. The objectives are to teach the research methods underlying clinical trials and simultaneously inspire STEM careers by exposing players to virtual apprenticeships within the context of specific clinical trial scenarios. Another anticipated benefit will be a positive change in attitudes about future participation in a clinical trial. Much of the content will be devoted to topics in neuroscience and/or the effects of drugs on human body systems.