Kent launches One Hour Degree for new students

The University has launched a first-of-its-kind online simulation to help new students make the transition to university life.

Known as the One Hour Degree, it has been played more than 1700 times in 70 countries since it was launched a few weeks ago, with prospective as well as new students taking up the challenge.

The simulation takes the form of a narrative based adventure game that replicates all the key elements of gaining a Kent degree condensed into as little as one hour. By introducing new (and prospective) students to issues affecting transition into university, and permitting them to take risks within a safe environment, it promotes more informed decision-making on the likes of how best to study, how to make the best use of campus facilities and social networks, and when to seek appropriate support whilst at the University.

Produced by Kent’s award-winning Student Success Project, the game is divided into five separate ‘quests’ focusing on Welcome Week, the first term and years one, two and three.

Players receive progress feedback by earning ‘knowledge’ and ‘wellbeing’ points along the way, as well as a badge for each completed quest. Together these will dictate the classification of the ‘degree’ received at the end, before they have the opportunity to be part of their very own graduation video. With more than 100 million unique pathways through the game, players can easily choose a different story path each time to see how different decisions result in different outcomes.

The game was written and developed by Alison Webb, Systems Development Manager in the Student Success Project, with input by colleagues from a wide range of departments across the University, including experts on simulation gaming and the learning experience.

Alison Webb said: ‘We know that many students have a range of concerns about going to university. These include those around independent study and living, and how to make the most of personal development and social opportunities. Through this game we aim to help them not only confront and navigate those concerns but to remind them that they are not alone in having them. We also aim to remind them of the support services and mechanisms available to them during their time with us.’

One Hour Degree does not require a login or user account and can be played by anyone with access to a web browser, on any device. It is available on the Hello Kent website and Student Success web pages or directly via www.kent.ac.uk/student/one-hour-degree.

Kent offers a wide range of support to new and returning students. It has won the national Times Higher Education (THE) award for student support twice in the past two years.