A Serious Game for Introducing Software Engineering Ethics to University Students

  • Michalis XenosEmail author
  • Vasiliki Velli
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 916)


This paper presents a game based on storytelling, in which the players are faced with ethical dilemmas related to software engineering specific issues. The players’ choices have consequences on how the story unfolds and could lead to various alternative endings. This Ethics Game was used as a tool to mediate the learning activity and it was evaluated by 144 students during a Software Engineering Course on the 2017–2018 academic year. This evaluation was based on a within-subject pre-post design methodology and provided insights on the students learning gain (academic performance), as well as on the students’ perceived educational experience. In addition, it provided the results of the students’ usability evaluation of the Ethics Game. The results indicated that the students did improve their knowledge about software engineering ethics by playing this game. Also, they considered this game to be a useful educational tool and of high usability. Female students had statistically significant higher knowledge gain and higher evaluation scores than male students, while no statistically significant differences were measured in groups based on the year of study.


Game-based learning Computer engineering ethics Usability evaluation 



The authors would like to thank the 144 students that participated in this study and helped us with their comments.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computer Engineering and Informatics DepartmentPatras UniversityPatrasGreece

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