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Superwisor: a game to enhance doctoral guidance

As doctoral supervisors, we need to not only manage the scientific process but also our own and our doctoral students’ expectations. We identified the need to open discussions about our practices in doctoral supervision.

 A gamified approach appeared very quickly as a way to open the black box of doctoral guidance and pastoral care. In this game, we raise the issues of following a scientific process, helping our doctoral students better organize their priorities, showing them how to identify a research community, and understanding publication requirements.

What is a serious game?

Serious games are games designed for a purpose beyond pure entertainment. They use the motivation levers of game design – such as competition, curiosity, collaboration, individual challenge – and game media, including board games through physical representation or video games, through avatars and 3D immersion, to enhance the motivation of participants to engage in complex or boring tasks.

Serious games are therefore used in a variety of professional situations such as education, training, assessment, recruitment, knowledge management, innovation and scientific research. The increased involvement of participants offers new stimulating possibilities: for example the players of the virtual puzzle game Foldit contribute to scientific research on different diseases (HIV, Aids etc.) through protein folding.

The Game

Superwisor is a serious game on doctoral supervision. It is a virtual game that deals with the supervision process and highlights best practices. The goal of the game is to improve the supervisor-supervisee relationship, so students may succeed in the program, write a good thesis and publish in top tier journals.

superwisor, GEM

Supervisors will go through three different moments of interaction with their PhD or DBA student: the initial meeting, the extended research proposal and publishing. Through these three scenarios, the supervisors are prompted to make decisions through their dialogue with the student. At the end of the game, we assess their performance and suggest best practices as well as resources for continued improvement.

We focus on three key moments in the supervisee-supervisor relationship: the first meeting, the extended research proposal and the publishing process. We split the game into three parts based on these moments.

The game’s value lies in opening the black box of doctoral supervision and discussing practices and theories as a group. The Doctoral School team will be happy to share the game with other schools as part of a day-and-a-half training session. For information, please contact Valérie Sabatier, director of the Doctoral programs at Grenoble Ecole de Management.