Introduction

"Welcome to Game CSI, where you, CSI Agent 051, travel the world to solve burning statistical mysteries à la CSI spy. The towering Customer Service Index statistics confound world superpowers that clamour for the statistical help only you can provide."

"You will analyze the data against benchmarks each country will reveal you when you report at each CSI station. Paris, Beijing and Las Vegas already await you, for their customer service reputations hang in the balance. The others you will arrive at in good time."

This marks the second time I am entering a competition with the CSI on Flash and CSI on iPad. For the past five terms, this game is met with wonder and great excitement by students at www.rosieching.com/csi. One and all begin via by air to France. At every commencement, a mission awaits which ties in with the CSI story. When the agent has taken receipt of all data and information, the game begins and the scoring starts. Every statistical step is labelled a Checkpoint, and each mission is in essence a progression of numerically graded Checkpoints. Only when an agent passes a Checkpoint can he/she progress. Each successful "pass" materializes as a set of footprints progressing along some landmark, like the Great Wall of China, the Niagara Falls or the Sydney Opera House.

There are seven countries spanning the world, with more than 500 options spread across more than sixty checkpoints the agent has to clear. With every country having its own distinct mission and therefore unique total number of points, students earn 100 points by getting each answer right, with each wrong entry penalized by between 50 and 100 points. Bonuses come via lines in compulsory mission telegrams the agent must tap out to Headquarters at each close, summarizing the entire mission lap statistically.

Synopsis

Objective

This being statistics at introductory level, with 80% freshman and 20% sophomores, demanding analysis of too much raw data would dampen spirits, delay the game's and students' progress, especially when they get stuck. So I've ensured that the agent be offered summarized statistical data in France, China, Las Vegas, Canada. Others like the Regalimus on the High Seas show raw data through a bouncy button which the students click on. Australia gives detailed tables and Singapore charts and analysis results in need of interpretation. Essential calculation skills and those of retrieving Z, t, F and chi-square distribution scores will be put to the test at many levels from simple to difficult. And the non-negotiable task of completion wires back to Headquarters at many junctures will test a student's ability to make sense of the entire mission. This can be checked real-time using the afore-mentioned full set of footprints at each mission's finale, along say, the Las Vegas Strip. This game serves and accompanies my 360 statistics students both in-class and well as outside.

With seven countries, each one with its unique mission, the critical start point of the agent's job is decide on the most suitable test appropriate in each mission, detailed in the attached pdf.

Many exciting features draw students into the feel and act of real-life agents: the click-and-drag missionPad for data entry, the custom-built Agent Calculator (which was an entire app in itself), Return-to-Map, the invigorating music with turn-sound-on/off function, detailed Help, celebratory fireworks at each mission's successful curtain. I also built a clickable start/stop-sound player for the hearing-impaired. Even the game voices, whether as passionate Global Animator, gruff High Seas captain, or the friendly French CSI head, are those of my statistics students of six nationalities in a 100% lecturer-student effort at SMU's library recording studio.

Approach

I had a tremendous time with creative scriptwriting, editing, producing, directing as well as weaving the entire story out with statistical tests in minute detail over more than three years. Enriching, entertaining, educational, engaging.

The welcome ribbon was cut mid-2014 on the all-new CSI iPad Game, with stars, game centre leaderboard, Facebook achievement-sharing, new options and much more. On this exciting CSI on iPad, students can post their scores to a leaderboard to compete among themselves, with a new star system where assuming X denotes full score, 0 to (X/2-1) earns the agent 1 star, (X/2) to (X-1) reaps 2, and X will see the agent crowned with the maximum 3 stars. The player enters an Agent name, with the game state based on username, with all-new creative touches, graphics, real background ambient sounds like that of the Australian didgeridoo or the Singapore train chimes, showcase of animated stars achieved for every country, locking of next stage till at least two stars are earned on the previous, lists achievements from "Academy Grad" to "Agent Victorious"!

The first prong of attack lies in the Statistics Practices all pictured in the pdf. The second prong I've given a brand new real-world touch, with every CSI agent receiving from the Chef de Mission (a.k.a. me) a real, hard-copy CSI Passport. It took me months to specially design these, based on an international passport, with scans of passport chops, across seven countries, printed on colour-laser 260g/m2 paper. I also created a customized CSI passport chop for every agent to get his/her passport stamped by me. With 21 passports, there is one unique passport per student! Students are immensely awed by their tailored CSI passports which send them winging away their journey. Please refer to pages 3-5 of the attached pdf, thank you.

Engagament

"There should be a 'HIGHER THAN EXCELLENT' option because Ms. Ching deserves better. I have never seen such dedication and passion from an instructor for their module. Ms. Ching is many many standard deviations above the norm. I hate math but she has inspired me through her lessons and egged me on in class papers and tests to try my best. I have so much respect for this lady. I am very grateful for the fact that Ms Ching tries to give us chances to earn points through her class part and CSI quiz game." ~ Official SMU Feedback, Class G12, April 2015

I placed all mission instructions in a special CSI Dossier on SMU's online learning platform (https://elearn.smu.edu.sg/), and entertained no further questions a la  top-secret CSI. This final, finishing touch perpetually ups the amazement level many notches and students love this new dimension of learning and assessment, marking an unexpected, unusual detour in their learning journey. Student agents volunteer to present their completed mission results to their peers, explain their journey, and upload scans of their passports and their detailed work.

Please refer to Section 4: "Project Engagement (300 words)" on page 6 of the uploaded pdf for all images, comments and evidence of engagement.

Impact

As of today 24th September 2015, the CSI on Flash has been played across many countries from Singapore, Japan, the Netherlands, England, USA and more. The ten-month old CSI on iPad also has had downloads from 54 countries since. The CSI Flash statistics include 166159 views by 1163 students across 254 pages over the last few years, where those of the year-old iPad game has enjoyed 807 downloads from 54 different countries, predominantly the USA and then Singapore.

The fact that the Flash CSI is playable on www.rosieching.com/csi and on iPad has transformed it into something perceived by students as non-traditional, new and fresh viz. traditional learning platforms.

At SMU's Teaching Innovation Exhibition in September 2014, my students and I presented the CSI on iPad to universities, polytechnics and schools round Singapore. Business school professors expressed great interest in using the CSI to blend with subjects like Finance and Organizational-Behaviour/Human-Resources. In April 2013, I was also commended by the chair of the U.S.A. Waller Education Award Committee for "your exciting, interesting materials, energetic and creative teaching and the web-based tools (you) use."

"The mission success was attained through blood, sweat and tears (of joy upon completion). It was my honour for this important task to be entrusted to me." Abigail Khoo, 2014

"It was an amazing experience!" Agent Dhandhani, 2014

"The game was nothing short of an awe-inspiringly creative and highly effective initiative from Ms. Ching. ..was clearly evidence of Ms. Ching's dedication...her commitment in enriching students' learning experience...this is the mutual feeling shared among not just my classmates but coursemates who had the chance to play... experience was beyond satisfying." Quynh Anh, 2014

Student enthusiasm remains very high indeed. All images, results and comments are in Section 5: "Project Impact/Results" on pages 7-11 of the pdf.

Next Steps

From its infancy on https://elearn.smu.edu.sg/ to the Flash version on http://www.rosieching.com/csi/, supported by Windows, Macs Android and now the iPad, the iTunes version being 13 months old now. With the standard and quality upped many notches I explained in "ProjectApproach". Phase 2 took almost two years. Many students or their families in Singapore own an iPad and it marked a natural progression for the game.

On 26th September 2015, I have a long-awaited reunion with my old statistics-student, co-founder of Tocco Studios (http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesasia/2012/10/11/arabia-asia-tocco-studios-has-the-right-touch/) Vincent Lai, to discuss newest ideas for developing the CSI from first-generation, using HTML5, scaling it for greater accessibility, making a web-based design responsive for smart phones including Android. I am aiming for more randomized options, new countries employing a wider span of topics, more chi-square tests, with full tables embedded and links to real CSI data provided by our Institute of Service Excellence at SMU, all thrilling ideas.

While undergoing phases of development whilst active within SMU, this CSI game holds tremendous potential to extend beyond SMU's borders, where statistics is embedded within the oft-compulsory curriculum for students across multiple disciplines. Its foundation stands strong, and instructors anywhere can use it at their own will in the future.

Another step toward innovative learning is the Gigame, at http://cte.smu.edu.sg/gigame/, the Introductory Statistics portion of which I developed, from the idea of my colleague, Professor Gary Chan. Click on START, enter Activation-Code: stat101 for the game, which allows students to compete against each other in a live setting. With my current focus on the CSI, this will see the light of day when I refine and perfect it for my future students, as a fun and enriching extension of the CSI Game for learning statistics, when the Agent returns home after his extended sabbatical following the Global Mandate.

Other Information

PDF - Click to download
PowerPoint Presentation - Click to download
Project Website - Zipped Uploaded Files of CSI Submission (Rosie Ching)
Project Website - CSI: Agent On A Mission FLASH
Project Website - CSI: Agent On A Mission iPad
Other - SMU Facebook 2014: Rosie Ching
Other - SMU Facebook 2015: Rosie Ching
Other - Teaching Excellence at SMU: Rosie Ching
Other - CSI: Agent On A Mission (From Cover to Page 2)
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