Professors Transform Final Exam into an Innovative Escape Room Experience at the School of Public Health

May 12, 2023 • News

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Drs. Melissa Lewis & Dana Litt

Students Discover Hidden Dissertation Funding in Unique, Engaging Examination

Two esteemed professors at the School of Public Health, Dr. Melissa Lewis, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Advancement, and Dr. Dana Litt, Associate Professor, have partnered with Billie Paschal and Jacob Miller at the University of North Texas Health Science Center Regional Simulation Center to create an unforgettable escape room experience as the final examination for their students in the Grantwriting and Grantsmanship and Health Behavior Research Methods I courses.

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Allison Cross, Sarah Alkhatib, & Idara Akpan

Designed to challenge and inspire, the escape room put students Idara AkpanSarah Alkhatib, and Allison Cross, to the test, requiring them to apply their knowledge and critical thinking skills in a stimulating scenario. The theme of the escape room centered around the students’ quest to uncover their hidden dissertation funding within Dean Dharamsi’s office.

Dr. Lewis and Dr. Litt collaborated with Paschal and  Miller to develop an immersive, multi-layered puzzle that demands teamwork and clever problem-solving. The escape room not only evaluates students’ understanding of grant writing and health behavior research methods but also encourages creativity, communication, and out-of-the-box thinking.

Escape Room 1The innovative learning experience has generated buzz among faculty, staff, and students alike, with many praising the unique approach to teaching. By combining the excitement of an escape room with the academic rigor of a final examination, Dr. Lewis and Dr. Litt have effectively engaged their students in an educational experience that is both enjoyable and enriching.

“It was a fun learning experience for me! I liked that we had to decipher codes as a team to get to each phase, but it was also a creative way to evaluate what we learned during the semester,” said Idara. “I think students will enjoy this activity. It’s a great way to improve your critical thinking skills!”

Sarah enjoyed the escape room in the academic setting stating, “As a kinesthetic learner, I truly appreciated this innovative activity that tied together all that we’ve learned over the course.”

The students were successful escaping with their dissertation funding (100 Grand Bars) and appreciating their fellow students. “I had a great time participating in the simulation escape room activity. It provided an enjoyable approach to evaluate our understanding of the course material while also highlighting the importance of collaboration and teamwork,” said Allison.

As educational institutions continue to explore new and inventive ways to assess student learning, the escape room concept pioneered by Dr. Lewis and Dr. Litt at the School of Public Health and Billie Paschal and Jacob Miller at the HSC Regional Simulation Center may serve as a model for high-impact, immersive learning experiences.