“The first Genetics Final Escape Room was a huge success!” says D’Youville Professor Dr. Gaia Bistulfi. Dr. Bistulfi’s students applied their knowledge of Genetics through teamwork, problem-solving, and communication. Her idea came through an article from another professor on a retainment technique for the University setting. She had come up with the Escape Room idea as a fun way for students to retain their Genetics knowledge with an emphasis on listening, teamwork, and speaking up in front of their peers. Effective collaboration involves using each team member’s strengths to solve a problem, a unique trait to learn in a final exam.

The Escape Room contained a large locked box with questions students needed to work as a team to answer to get the code to unlock the locks. As students unlocked the box, smaller boxes and more locks with questions are revealed. Dr. Bistulfi used a total of nine locks in her exam. Students were given time to debrief with each other during the exam. She stated that the concept was very time consuming to create, at about 100-150 hours of work to turn the concept into reality.
Dr. Bistulfi began her class last semester by asking students what leadership, excellent communication, and active listening means to them. She then incorporated these traits through her final exam. The results were successful as students reported to gain a sense of successful collaboration skills, following communication, respect, patience, courage, problem-solving, and responsibility as key themes in student responses. These are skills that students will embody in their profession when they need to solve a problem.

The Escape Room final prepares students for collaborative problem solving and practical communication skills necessary for success in their field! Students reported having learned new information through their exams as a result of collaborating with each other. Dr. Bistulfi will continue to use an Escape Room as a final exam in her Genetics class, due to the successful results she has collected!