Kent wins Guardian University Award 2020 for Digital Innovation

Gary Hughes
Picture by Unsplash

We are delighted to announce that the University has won the Digital Innovation category of the Guardian University Awards 2020.

This win is for our innovative and highly acclaimed One Hour Degree.

Launched in 2019, One Hour Degree is an online simulation game designed to provide the complete university experience for those contemplating taking the three-year academic route. Created by the University’s Student Success Team, it enables prospective students to take an immersive series of “quests” designed to give authentic insight into the university experience, all within one hour. Players are able to choose to participate via either Kent’s Canterbury or Medway campuses.

The One Hour Degree was developed in collaboration with a number of specialists across the University. The game was written and developed by Alison Webb, Systems Development Manager in the Student Success Team. To date it has been played over 7,000 times by players in 124 countries.

Professor Richard Reece, Kent’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience said: ‘This is fantastic news and many congratulations to all those involved with this truly innovative project. The global reach of the game has been phenomenal and its impact truly beneficial to both current and prospective students at Kent.’

Alison Webb said: ‘Not only was this a fantastic collaborative effort between many colleagues and departments, but it also highlighted the importance of speaking to students and gaining their insights on specific university experiences. We also had the benefit of a work-study student to really bring this to life. The analytics prove the game has been played far and wide and student feedback has been incredibly positive.’

The Guardian described the game as one that ‘introduces key concepts, terminology, locations and processes to new students before they arrive, while images of the campus helps those who have been unable to attend an open day.

‘An easy-to-read narrative takes players through five “quests” covering welcome week, the first assignment, first-year exams, year two and year three, offering choices between hundreds of different scenarios.

‘Badges are awarded for each completed quest, while knowledge and happiness points reward choices that take full advantage of the education and networking opportunities available. Together these dictate the classification of the degree players receive at the end.’

Kent was also runner up in the Widening Access and Outreach category of the Guardian Awards. This was for the first degree-level apprenticeship in economics. This project was led by Digital and Lifelong Learning and School of Economics, alongside the Government Economic Service (GES).