Professor opens doors for the next generation of social workers through a game-changing online platform

July 03, 2023

Headshot of Professor Emily McCave

Emily McCave, professor of social work, has collaborated with Jonah Warren, professor of game design and development, to create an interactive digital game for students to delve deeper into the roles of healthcare professionals.

McCave is one of 10 faculty members across the university who has been awarded a grant from the Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works Impact Fund, administered by the office of the provost. This fund supports faculty who want to publish their research findings and bring a positive impact to the university community through research and development.

McCave teaches a handful of social work classes, some of which include social work practice with individuals and families and issues of diversity and oppression.

In her social work courses, McCave focuses on the importance of interprofessional collaboration, with one of the requirements for her courses being for students to attend interprofessional education events.

To further education on this front, McCave has teamed up with Warren from the game design department to create a digital interactive game version of an interprofessional education (IPE) escape room. This was an idea and project that McCave came up with and designed herself in 2019 to be used by her students.

“By building the IPE escape room in a digital environment, we will expand access to students and can research and examine whether this form of digital learning offers an equally beneficial learning experience for students compared to the traditional in-person environment,” she said.

McCave further went on to explain the benefit of interprofessional education for students going into the healthcare industry.

“The benefit of interprofessional education for pre-professional healthcare learners is well documented,” she said. “I am interested in creating innovative IPE learning activities that promote patient-centered care and will prepare our graduates to work in 21st century healthcare systems.”

McCave said she hopes that her and Warren’s game design will be used among many students as it promotes communication, teamwork skills and increases overall knowledge about the roles and responsibilities of healthcare professionals.

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