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Penn State to release Moocdemic 2.0

Against the backdrop of the rapidly spreading Ebola virus, researchers at Penn State will soon launch Moocdemic 2.0, a massive multiplayer game simulation, an optional component to a massive online open course (MOOC) on epidemics.

By playing location-based Moocdemic, students detect, spread and control a fictional infectious disease in real time.

Like Moocdemic 1.0, in this second version of the platform, players create an account accessible through a smartphone or computer. The application scans for diseases, or cases, using the player’s location. As players move through their environment, they get points for spotting nearby cases and sharing that information via social media. Moocdemic supports Apple and Android devices and is completely free to play.

The game is being run in parallel with a free MOOC on epidemiology offered through Coursera. The course, called Epidemics - the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases, will run this year from Sept. 29 to Dec. 1.

"The game allows players to experience a global disease outbreak in real time without being exposed to any real risk, other than game addiction," developer and assistant professor Marcel Salathé told Directions Magazine.

Moocdemic was developed by scientists at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State University. It is a Ruby on Rails app with a PostgreSQL database and is hosted on Heroku, according to the game’s website. 

Posted by GCN Staff on Sep 25, 2014 at 11:03 AM


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