Background

The Ocean Sciences Quiz was originally conceived and developed by the MIT Sea Grant College Program (MITSG) to promote ocean literacy and engage students, teachers, and teams worldwide. In 2011, the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) leadership team, from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, started working with MITSG to further develop the game. This game is a modified extension of the traditional competition buzzer rounds and is intended to be an enjoyable medium for practice and learning. A three-phase series of improvements has been rolled out over the period from late 2011 to mid-2013.

The NOSB is a national academic competition for high school students interested in marine science. Each, year thousands of students from across the country and U.S. territories compete in a buzzer-style competition for the opportunity to advance to the national Finals Competition. The top national teams win prizes that send them to exotic marine locations around the world for learning, exploration, and fun.

Development of the OSQ

Phase I focuses on one person playing against the clock. Its design and functionality are specific to helping individuals increase their knowledge of the ocean sciences. Individual players can identify and select specific subject area(s) to focus on, and can also pause or stop the game at any point to check progress and comprehension of the material by reviewing the end of game summary. In addition, participants also have the ability to submit their own questions into the game’s database to help expand the game’s breadth and depth.

Phase II, completed in late spring 2012, took the game to the next level by allowing two players to compete against each other using the same computer. Phase II included all of the same functionalities as Phase I, but the speed and flow of the game was increased as the players not only compete against a clock, but they try to answer more questions correctly than their “opponent.” In this phase, players are not only able to expand their ocean science knowledge, but they can practice their quick response skills for upcoming competitions. Another element included in Phase II is the opportunity to rate and flag submitted questions within the game.

Phase III, released in April 2013, features the addition of an online mode of play, supported by a substantial technological re-development. The new mode, "Two-player online," allows for individuals and teams to compete on two different computers across the Internet. All of the capabilities of Phases I & II were retained and, along with online play, improvements included the addition of a leader board, and performance and security enhancements.

We hope you enjoy playing the OSQ and appreciate the unique elements that each phase of development has brought!

The Organizations Behind the OSQ:

MIT Sea Grant runs the Massachusetts regional competition of the NOSB, the Blue Lobster Bowl (BLB). In addition to running the BLB, we work directly with students, train teachers and community leaders, and conduct public outreach activities that bring the latest science and technology out of the laboratory and into the hands of students, professionals, and the general public.

The National Sea Grant College Program is a network of 32 programs working to promote the conservation and sustainable development of our marine resources through research, education, and outreach. Sea Grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The Consortium for Ocean Leadership is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that represents more than 100 of the leading public and private ocean research and education institutions, aquaria and industry with the mission to advance research, education and sound ocean policy.

The OSQ is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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