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The DNA Wonderland

Teacher: Dr. YEUNG Hang Mee Po Department: School of Biomedical Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Email:

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is one of the key topics in the CUHK Medicine faculty package which is a set of foundation courses for all the Faculty of Medicine students. Students from different majors, such as Nursing and Chinese Medicine, are required to complete the faculty package courses. However, non-medicine major students and new entry students without a biology background may feel frustrated and difficult to pick up the concepts. In light of this, Dr. YEUNG Hang Mee Po, a lecturer from the School of Biomedical Sciences of CUHK, designed an interactive game-based courseware named “The DNA Wonderland”. The initiative has been applied to the courses MEDF1010 Foundation course for health science I and MEDF1012A Foundation course for health science II.

The DNA Wonderland is divided into 3 games with a storyline: (1) Cotton candy helix, (2) Roller coaster DNA Express and (3) Hit or miss codon cannon. Students are requested to complete the games by answering multiple choice and matching questions related to DNA. In the game, students are expected to learn the nature of DNA and its application, the mechanism of DNA replication and the basis of genetics. The courseware has been uploaded to CUHK Blackboard which students can access anytime and anywhere.

For the purpose of improving the game design as well as understanding users’ preferences, Dr. Yeung conducted a trial during the development process. In addition, students are asked to complete an e-survey after playing the game. Overall, the students appreciated the courseware design. They responded that it is easier to understand and more attractive to learn with gamified courseware than with traditional video materials. Dr. Yeung explained that video materials are usually produced based on textbook content. Some students found there is not much difference between reading textbooks and watching videos. Moreover, Dr. Yeung observed that more students play the game after class for revision. When asked about the difficulties encountered, Dr. Yeung pointed out that insufficient time for developing the courseware and evaluating students’ feedback is the biggest challenge. She also expressed her interest in further developing the game-based courseware if she could obtain financial support.

“Hit or miss codon cannon” game - Players need to remember different DNA codons and answer the question by playing a shooting game.


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